Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of the Indian nationalist movement"

See other formats





Ex Ltjbris 















I LEFT India in April, 1919, and in the following October 
completed thirty-five years of service passed in direct 
contact with Indians of all classes. I have enjoyed 
considerable facilities for observing from close quarters 
various phases of the Indian Nationalist movement. 

In this book I have tried to trace its history and to 
summarise political conditions in India as they were 
when I left the country. My object has been to render 
some slight assistance toward a clear understanding 
of the difficult problems which India offers, and will 
continue to offer, to the British people. 

Throughout I have felt the extreme difficulty of 
appraising and setting forth fairly the ideals and mental 
processes of men not of my own race. I have, there- 
fore, aimed at explaining these, as far as possible, in 
the words of Indian Nationalists themselves. My book 
may be held to contain an excessive number of quota- 
tions ; but the quantity of these is due to my anxiety 
to throw as accurate a light as possible on causes, 
motives, and events. 

Another object has been present to my mind. British 
rule in India has been, and is constantly slandered 
and vilified in India, in England, and in other countries. 
I have taken care to show what has been said of its 
character and policy by prominent founders and leaders 
of Indian Nationalism. 

My story is one of my own time, and ends with the 
day of my departure from India. My last chapter was 
written before publication of the amended Government 



of India Bill, which has since become law. I have 
endeavoured to write what I believe to be the truth 
in a fair and considerate spirit. 

I wish to acknowledge my obligations to a large 
variety of authorities, to the published reports of the 
Indian National Congress, from 1885 to the present 
time, to the newspapers India, The Times of India, the 
Pioneer, the Leader, and other Indian journals, to the 
writings of the late Sir Alfred Lyall, to Mr. Vincent 
Smith's Early History of India, to the Life of Saiyid 
Ahmad Khan, C.S.I., by Colonel Graham, to the Speeches 
of Lord Curzon of Kedleston edited by Sir Thomas 
Kaleigh, to Lord Morley's Recollections and Indian 
Speeches, to the Speeches of the late Mr. Gokhale, to 
Papers on Indian Social Reform, edited by Mr. C. Y. 
Chintamani, to Mr. William Archer's India and the 
Future, to the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms Report, to 
various reports published by the Government of India, 
and to other sources of information too numerous to 

Lastly, I would express the hope that the importance 
and interest of the subject, especially at the present 
time, may lead my readers to forgive the shortcomings 
of the book ; and I would express my gratitude to the 
people of , the United Provinces, and to my brother 
officers of the Indian Civil Service, with whom I have 
passed many happy years. 

H. V. L. 

December 31st, 1919. 



Purpose of this book Indian politics before British rule Formation of 
the present ideals of British rule English education the origin of Indian 
politics British India when Government undertook education. Hindu- 
ism Reception of Western education by different classes Causes of 
the Mutiny Effect of its failure on the Muhammadans The 
Queen's Proclamation and the Councils Act of 1861 Progress 
toward new problems District administration and the agricultural 
masses Thought among the English-educated classes Vernacular 
newspapers Proclamation of Queen Victoria as Empress of India 
The Ilbert Bill controversy and Lord Ripon Beginnings of a Hindu 
nationalist movement ....... pp. 1-30 



The year 1885. General conditions Decision of advanced Indians 
to hold a Congress The first Indian National Congress The second 
Congress Abstention of Muhammadans from the Congress movement 
largely due to the influence of Sir Saiyid Ahmad^- Further history of the 
Congress movement Social Conferences The attitude of Government ^ 
toward the Congress Dissatisfaction of the Congress party with the* 
Councils Act of 1892 First signs of a Hindu revolutionary movement-^ 
Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak The Rand Murders The Congress and the 
Plague. The tone of the Press The death of Queen Victoria. The Delhi ^ 
Durbar of 1903 Lord Curzon's educational reforms The Partition A 
agitation Lord Curzon's administration . . . pp. 31-60 


* * 

The Congress of 1905 Progress of the anti-Partition agitation Vive- 

kananda's teaching Increasing trouble in Bengal The Congress of 1906 



? * 

Evolution of the Congress into Moderates and Extremists The begin- 
nings of a revolutionary movement Their significance and extent^- 
Origin of the Muslim League The King's Proclamation of 1908 and 
the Morley-Minto Reforms Reception accorded to them Progress of 
Extremism. Mr. Gokhale's firm stand The influence of the Ruling* 
Chiefs The Press Act Lord Morley and Lord Minto The Congress of* 
1910 The visit of Their Majesties The Durbar changes A subsequent 
development The Public Services Commission Further history of the"^ 
Muslim League Continuance of revolutionary crime Politics before* 
the outbreak of the war ....>. pp. 61-95 


END OF 1916 

The first months of the war The death of Mr. Gokhale The 1915 
sessions of the Congress and Muslim League Mrs. Besant Review of 
the war period 1914-15 Lord Hardinge's departure and farewell advice 
Effects in India of the action of the Grand Sharif of Mecca Revolu- 
tionary effort in Bengal The Home Rule agitation The Reforms Memor- 
andum of October 1916 Trend of politics toward the close of the year 
The December political meetings The Congress of 1916 The Muslim 
League meetings of 1916 General remarks on these meetings 

pp. 96-124 



The condition of India at this time The appointment of an Industrial 
Commission The abolition of indentured emigration Announcements 
by the Viceroy at the 1917 February Sessions of the Imperial Legislative 
Council The Defence Force Bill India's financial contribution to the 
war funds of the Home Government. The raising of the cotton import 
duties Concluding speech by the Viceroy The Press Act deputation 
Educated Indian response to the Defence Force Bill Continuance of the 
Home Rule campaign. Internment of Mrs. Besant Consequences of 
this measure Return of the Indian delegates to the Imperial War Con- 
ference Memorable announcements by the Secretary of State for India 
Opening of the September Sessions of the Imperial Legislative Council 
The Arrah riots pp. 125-150 



The visit of the Secretary of State The Delhi War Conference- 
Subsequent political events Mr. Gandhi Publication of the Reforms 


Report The Reforms Proposals Manifestos of the Bengal Moderates 
and European Association Publication of the Report of the Sedition 
Committee General conditions at this time Further Nationalist 
activities Sessions of the Legislative Council Riots in Calcutta The 
Conference of Moderates The political meetings of December 1918 
Results of these meetings. ...... pp. 151-185 




Origin of the Sedition Bills Findings of the Sedition Committee 
Corroborative testimony Proposals of the committee Commencement 
of legislation Widespread opposition The Bills in Councils A debate 
in the Bengal Council Concessions made by the Government of India 
Mr. Gandhi intervenes Final debates Beginnings of trouble Delhi 
Ahmedabad, Bombay, and Calcutta The Punjab Mr. Gandhi's 
repentance Mrs. Besant's pronouncement Extent and nature of the 
disturbances Who helped us ? The attitude of the Moderates generally. 

pp. 186-222 



Importance of a clear understanding of conditions British attitude to 
Indian progress briefly considered Economic grievances of the political 
classes The drain Nationalism and racialism The mischief of Ex- 
tremism Racial suspicion The landlords The masses and the depressed 
classes The soldiers Other interests The reason for the declaration 
of August 20th, 1917 The position of the Civil Service and Police 
What of the future ? pp. 223-257 







ASSOCIATION ........ 264 





VI. DADABHAI NAOROJI . . . . . . .276 



15TH, 1918 277 

W. A. IRONSIDE . 281 



" An accurate knowledge of the conditions of the past is necessary for a 
right understanding of the problems of the present." 

SOME time ago, in the well-known book J'accuse, I read 
the following passage : 

" National movements in fact cannot be suppressed. 
The practical politician must deal with them as facts ; 
and if he hopes to conduct them in the desired direction, 
he must endeavour, as far as possible, to satisfy their 
demands, which rest on community of race, of language, 
and often of religion demands which are thus healthy 
and justifiable. Therein lies the skill of the English, 
and the true basis of their colonial greatness." 

These words, written by a German, and inspired by 
observation of stirring incidents in the recent War, are 
a well-deserved tribute to the success of the colonial 
policy of Great Britain. Her Indian policy has been 
declared to be based on the same principles, but must be 
adapted to far more complex circumstances ; for in 
this great continent, or collection of countries, diverse 
in soil and physical characteristics, she has to deal 
with, not community, but numerous varieties of race, 
language, and religion. Yet she must recognise that 


" although Indians are broken up into diversities of 
race and language, they are, as a whole, not less dis- 
tinctly marked off from the rest of Asia by certain 
material and moral characteristics than their country 
is by the mountains and the sea. The component parts 
of that great country hang together morally and poli- 
tically. There is no more room for two irreconcilable 
systems of government than there is in Persia, China, or 
Asiatic Turkey." l 

The British Government has decided to accede to 
the demand of Indian Nationalists that India shall 
tread the paths that lead to parliamentary government. 
This decision calls for, and will call for the solution of 
very difficult questions. We shall explore these to 
small purpose unless we make some study of the past, 
unless we observe the course of events which introduced 
democratic politics into the most rigidly conservative 
country in the world. The formal introduction took 
place thirty-four years ago ; but the India of 1885 was, 
like the India of to-day, heir to a former time. 

In view of perversions of Indian history which have 
lately become too common, it will be convenient to 
describe briefly the nature of the political inheritance 
to which Britain succeeded. The Moghal Empire, the 
product of a great Muhammadan invasion from Central 
Asia, had previously swept away all indigenous politi- 
cal institutions and shattered all semblance of Hindu 
nationality except in the States of Rajputana. When, 
after two centuries, that Empire itself fell gradually 
into decay, Sikhs, Jats, Afghans, Marathas disputed 
and fought over its territories. The Marathas were 
showing signs of consolidating their acquisitions when 
British intervention turned the scale ; but history does 
not show that their Government represented any pan- 

* Sir Alfred Lyall. 


Hindu nationality. In its later days it was described 
by Sir Thomas Munro, a high contemporary authority, 
as " one of the most destructive that ever existed in 
India." He went on : " Their work was chiefly desola- 
tion. They did not seek their revenue in the improve- 
ment of the country, but in the exaction of the 
established chant 1 from their neighbours and in pre- 
datory incursions to levy more." 

Province after province fell to the East India Com- 
pany because the Moghal Empire could no longer 
withstand the attacks of its enemies, and in each the 
company's servants found no stable or organised poli- 
tical institutions. Everywhere the strongest ruled, or 
tried to rule, by purely despotic methods. Everywhere 
the lives and property of the people were at the arbitrary 
disposal of their rulers. Everywhere armies, or hosts 
of marauders, marched frequently over the country, 
supplied their wants by plunder and left ruin in their 
train. Sir Alfred LyaU writes, in Asiatic -Studies : 

' The character and consequences of the events which 
preceded British supremacy in India have, perhaps, 
been seldom adequately estimated. There intervened 
a period of political anarchy greater and more wide- 
spread than India had experienced for centuries. It 
was a mere tearing and rending of the prostrate carcass, 
a free fight with little definite aim or purpose beyond 
plunder or annexation of land revenue." 

Let those who are prone to undervalue the advan- 
tages of British government remember the miseries 
which it brought to an end. 

Endeavouring to achieve peace and security, first for 
their commerce and then for their territories, constantly 
seeking for a permanent frontier, the East India Com- 
pany as constantly lost it in receding vistas, until at 

1 Impost. 


last they found themselves supreme over the whole of 
India south-east of the Punjab. Such rapid extension 
would have been impracticable had not their rule been 
generally welcome for reasons explained by Abbe 
Dubois, a French missionary who worked in Southern 
India early in the last century : 

" Nevertheless," he wrote, " the justice and pru- 
dence which the present rulers display in endeavouring 
to make these people less unhappy than they have been 
hitherto ; the anxiety they manifest in increasing their 
material comfort ; above all, the inviolable respect 
which they constantly show for the customs and re- 
ligious belief of the country ; and, lastly, the protection 
they afford to the weak as well as to the strong, to the 
Brahman, to the Pariah, to the Christian, to the 
Muhammadan ; all these have contributed more to the 
consolidation of their power than even their victories 
and conquests." 

But now other considerations began to claim the at- 
tention of thinking men. Perhaps the most note- 
worthy utterances on the subject were those of Sir 
Thomas Munro, who, arriving in India in 1780 as a 
military cadet at the age of nineteen, died as Governor 
of Madras in 1827. Not only did he consider 

" how we can raise the character and material condi- 
tion of our people, how by better organisation we can 
root out needless misery of mind and body, how we 
can improve the health and intelligence, stimulate the 
sense of duty and fellowship, the efficiency and patri- 
otism of the whole community ; " but, going further, 
he struck an altogether new note. ' The strength of 
the British Government enables it to put down every 
rebellion, to repel every foreign invasion, and to give 
to its subjects a degree of protection which those of 
no Native Power enjoy. Its laws and institutions also 


afford them a security from domestic oppression un- 
known in Native States ; but these advantages are 
dearly bought. They are purchased by the sacrifice of 
independence, of national character, and of whatever 
renders a people respectable. The natives of British 
provinces may, without fear, pursue their different 
occupations as traders or husbandmen and enjoy the 
fruits of their labours in tranquillity ; but none of them 
can look forward to any share in the civil or military 
government of their country. It is from men who 
either hold or are eligible for public life that nations 
take their character ; where no such men exist, there 
can be no energy in any other class of the community. 
No elevation of character can be expected among men 
who in the military line cannot attain to any rank 
above that of a subadar, where they are as much below 
an ensign as an ensign is below the commander-in- 
chief, and who in the civil line can hope for nothing 
beyond some petty judicial or revenue office in which 
they may by corrupt means make up for their slender 

On another occasion he wrote : 

" Our great error in this country, during a long 
course of years, has been too much precipitation in 
attempting to better the condition of the people with 
hardly any knowledge of the means by which it was to 
be accomplished, and indeed without seeming to think 
that any other than good intentions were necessary. 
It is a dangerous system of government to be constantly 
urged by the desire of settling everything permanently ; 
to do everything in a hurry and in consequence wrong, 
and in our zeal for permanency to put the remedy out 
of our reach. The ruling vice of our Government is 
innovation ; and its innovation has been so little 
guided by a knowledge of the people, that though 
made after what was thought by us to be mature dis- 
cussion, it must appear to them as little better than 
the result of mere caprice." 


Munro overlooked an important condition of the 
future, as I shall subsequently show ; but he was 
regarded as an official of exceptional ability, and his 
ideas were to some extent shared by other prominent 
men of his day. Thus it was that broad and liberal 
principles guided the statesmen who were responsible 
for that important Acfc of Parliament the Government 
of India Bill of 1833 which asserted the sovereignty 
of the Crown over the Company's territories, and de- 
clared that these were held in trust for His Majesty. 
It formulated definitely the principles of British rule. 
It declared that no person by reason of his birth, creed, 
or colour should be disqualified from holding any office 
in the East India Company's service. It also forbade 
the Company to engage in any kind of trade, thus 
terminating the association of Government with profit- 
making, and it converted the Governor-General of Fort 
William in Bengal into the " Governor-General of India 
in Council." There were to be four ordinary members 
of Council, three servants of the Company, and the 
fourth a legal member appointed with the approbation 
of the Crown, but only entitled to sit and vote at meet- 
ings convened for legislative purposes. The first legal 
member was the great Macaulay. Great Britain thus 
declared her determination that her Empire in India 
should rest on freedom and fair opportunity, and took 
a further important step in the process of transforming 
the East India Company from what was originally a 
purely mercantile association into a special agency 
for the government of a great dependency. The 
Directors of the Company endeavoured to give effect 
to this generous policy by a despatch dated December 
10th, 1834. Natives of India were to be admitted 
to places of trust as freely and extensively as a regard 
for the due discharge of the functions attached to such 


places would permit. Fitness was henceforward to be 
the criterion of eligibility. And in order that the 
natives of India might become fit, and able to compete 
with a fair chance of success, every design tending to 
their improvement was to be promoted, " whether by 
conferring on them the advantages of education or by 
diffusing on them the treasures of science, knowledge, 
and moral culture." At the same time the Governor- 
General was to remember that 

" it is not by holding out incentives to official ambition, 
but by repressing crime, by securing and guarding 
property, by ensuring to industry the fruits of its 
labour, by protecting men in the undisturbed enjoyment 
of their rights and in the unfettered exercise of their 
faculties, that governments best minister to the public 
wealth and happiness/' 

Democratic political ideals in India owe their origin 
largely to the decision of Lord William Bentinck, then 
Governor-General, who in pursuance of the " liberal 
and comprehensive policy " laid down by the despatch 
from which I have quoted, announced, on March 7th, 
1835, that " the great object of the British Government 
ought to be the promotion of European literature and 
science among the natives of India/' Up to that time 
the pioneers of Western education had been mainly 
Christian missionaries, but now the advancement of 
such teaching was declared to be a part of State policy. 
As has often been told, this announcement was largely 
influenced by Macaulay, and closed a controversy in 
which the question at issue was whether the instruction 
to be subsidised by public money should be English or 
Oriental ; whether the language, the philosophies, and 
science of the West or the East should be encouraged 
by the State. The settlement arrived at was in prin- 


ciple right, for it was clearly the duty of the British 
Government to attempt the intellectual enlightenment 
of India on Western lines ; but in carrying out this 
settlement the Government made one mistake percep- 
tible to after-experience it promoted literature far 
above science ; it also necessarily offended conserva- 
tive communities with sensitive prejudices, the Brah- 
mans, who were depositaries of orthodox Hindu 
tradition, and the higher classes of Muhammadans, 
who were attached to their own books and philosophy. 
Nevertheless, for the first time in India, State-aided 
instruction was established on a firm foundation. In 
the words of the last Census of India Report " the 
country had been for centuries in an unsettled condi- 
tion, and the common people were sunk in deepest 
ignorance. Under the caste system, the learned pro- 
fessions were the monopoly of a few castes, and in the 
law books the imparting of knowledge to Sudras (low 
castes) was forbidden." But now a new system was 
introduced. English and vernacular education were 
opened to all, although years elapsed before the former 
penetrated beyond an extremely limited number of 
persons belonging to the already lettered classes. In 
1854 the directors of the East India Company in a 
memorable despatch accepted the systematic promo- 
tion of general education as one of the duties of the 
State, and emphatically declared their desire for the 
diffusion of European knowledge in India. Shortly 
afterwards a University was established at Calcutta 
which devoted its entire energies to literary and theo- 
retical instruction. 

It must be remembered that in 1835 neither the 
Punjab nor Oudh belonged to Great Britain, also that 
throughout the whole of British India communications 
were still primitive and adverse to a rapid spread of 

the new learning. Hindus formed and form the great 
majority of the population. Their higher castes repre- 
sent, generally, the early Aryan invaders. Their lower 
castes are the descendants of the original inhabitants 
of the country, who lost their independence by the 
imposition of the caste system. Sir K. G. Bhandarkar, 
late Vice- Chancellor of the Bombay University, tells 
us that each Aryan tribe that invaded India in the 
remote past had a king of its own, and a family or 
families of priests. 

' There were among them/' he says, " three social 
grades. To the first belonged priests, who composed 
Brahmans, i.e., songs or hymns to the gods, knew how to 
worship them, and were called Brahmans. The second 
grade was occupied by those who acquired political 
eminence and fought battles, and were called Raj ans. All 
the other Aryas were referred to the third grade, and were 
distinguished by the name of Visas, or people, generally. 
These three classes formed one community, and such 
of the aborigines as had yielded to the Aryas were 
tacked on to it as a fourth grade under the name of 
Dasas, slaves, or servants." 

As the Aryans spread eastward over the vast con- 
tinent of India, subjugating or pushing back the earlier 
inhabitants, they developed the religious and social 
system known as Hinduism, which is founded on the 
original Aryan beliefs, but has adopted certain additional 
doctrines which are generally accepted among Hindus and 
are likely to influence the future materially, if less pro- 
foundly than they have influenced the past. That 
here and there they have been modified or largely 
rejected by particular sects or classes does not alter 
the fact that they are the basis of the working creed 
of the great majority of Hindus, and form the mental 
windows through which these many millions look out 


upon the things of life. The first of these doctrines is 
that the cleavages between the four main castes were 
divinely ordained, that these castes alone are within 
the pale of Hinduism ; and that outside that pale are 
barbarians or outcastes, descendants of the aborigines 
who never intermingled with the lowest caste of Hindus. 
The second doctrine is that every soul passes through 
a variety of bodies. At each birth the caste or out- 
casting of the body is determined by the deeds of the 
soul in its previous body. This doctrine is named 
" karma," or action. In effect it implies, and is 
understood to imply, that persons who are so fortunate 
as to be born Brahmans have won their position by 
merit and spirituality ; that members of the lowest 
caste and outcastes are paying a just penalty for 
transgressions in a previous existence, and must be 
content to accept this unpleasant fact. To this belief 
was added another, that the high castes, and notably 
the Brahmans, must be most careful to preserve their 
spirituality and position ; that for this reason they 
must, as far as possible, avoid contact with lower castes. 
As the centuries rolled on, the original four castes 
expanded into many sub-castes ; but although the law 
and the scriptures were by no means always observed, 
and modifications of caste practices resulted from 
migrations and changes of occupation, the basic prin- 
ciples of " karma " and caste-organisation hardened. 
Even the outcastes largely accepted them, together 
with vague varieties of Hindu theology, and are at the 
present day classed as Hindus in census returns. And 
thus it is that, in spite of the political disintegration 
which prevailed in India at the time of the Muhamma- 
dan inroads from central Asia, there was a Hindu 
social and religious system combining external 
unity with internal cleavages. This system remained 


intact during the period of Muhammadan domination, 
although the temptations of a militant religion, which 
taught that all true believers were equal before God, 
proved irresistible with many Hindus of the lower 
castes. It was, indeed, not until the establishment of 
British rule and the introduction of English education, 
often imparted by Christian European missionaries, 
that the rooted ideas engendered by the caste system 
and the pessimism implanted among the lowest castes 
by the doctrine of " karma " weakened in the slightest 
degree; and even now these ideas, although partially 
dissolving among the English- educated, are very strong 
among the generality of Hindus, and necessarily imply 
rigid social distinctions, assuring Brahman supremacy 
and supporting it by the teaching that the presence of 
Brahmans is indispensable for the religious family cere- 
monies to which orthodox Hindus attach supreme 
value. Caste distinctions are now enforced by strict 
rules and penalties, even though such rules and penal- 
ties are here and there lapsing into disuse. Brahman 
ascendancy has been largely temporal as well as spirit- 
ual. Brahmans were the councillors of early Hindu 
monarchs, and have often been the ministers of Muham- 
madan rulers. Neither foreign conquest nor domestic 
dissensions have materially impaired a religious and 
social position which is buttressed by the sanction of 
ages. Such a supremacy has necessarily developed an 
intense pride of place, and has produced restrictions 
and exclusions of the most arbitrary kind. 

British rule had followed closely on the fall of Muham- 
madan sovereignty, and had inherited the autocratic 
system of administration which the Muslim conquerors 
from Central Asia had themselves received from earlier 
rulers of India. No other system had ever been known 
in the country from time immemorial. Ii? the gradual 


dissolution of their own empire, many Muhammadans 
freely assisted in establishing British authority. Not 
only did they enlist in the army of the East India 
Company, but, in the years which immediately preceded 
the Mutiny, they considerably outnumbered Hindus in 
the best offices which could be held by Indians under 
the British Government. The majority of their upper 
classes, however adventurers by descent and soldiers 
by tradition clung to their own history and litera- 
ture, and turned their faces away from the new learn- 
ing, failing to realise that, in course of time, under 
Western rule, Western education must necessarily 
become the channel to office and power. The Parsis, 
on the other hand, descendants from Persian exiles 
who settled in India some centuries ago and form a 
strong commercial section in Bombay, and the Hindu 
clerical and trading castes, as well as those families of 
Brahmans who, by tradition, inclined to Government 
employ, quickly availed themselves of opening oppor- 
tunities, especially in the capital province of Bengal and 
in the seaports of Bombay and Madras. The Rajputs 
or Thakurs, the great Hindu fighting caste, at first held 
entirely aloof from English education. Their ambi- 
tions were military or territorial. They lived in the 
interior of Upper India, and were slightly represented 

The India of the East India Company's days 
ended with the Mutiny. Lord Roberts has pointed 
out that this was a military revolt, but that the 
revolt would not have taken place had there not been 
considerable discontent through that part of the country 
from which the Hindustani sepoy chiefly came, and 
had not powerful persons borne the British a grudge. 
He states that the discontent was largely due to the 
antagonism of the Brahmans to our innovations and 


to Western education, which was sapping their influ- 
ence. He points out that we had spread among the 
ruling chiefs uncertainty and discontent ; that we had 
recently annexed Oudh and Jhansi, and had informed 
the titular King of Delhi that on his death his title 
would cease and his court would be removed from the 
Imperial city. 

It is also important to notice that for various reasons, 
the more sensitive Hindu and Muhammadan classes 
had conceived the idea that their religions were losing 
their exclusive privileges and were being steadily 
undermined. The proclamations issued from Delhi 
and Lucknow appealed to the multitude with the cry 
of religion in peril. 

The arena of the Mutiny was the United Provinces 
of Agra and Oudh, which then included Delhi, and a 
large part of Central India. There was little fighting 
anywhere else, and no popular trouble in Bengal proper, 
although there was some fighting in Bihar. Unlike 
the Punjab, neither Agra nor Oudh had been disarmed. 
In the Agra Province there were very few British troops, 
and those few either were drawn off to the siege of 
Delhi or were themselves for the first four or five 
months hopelessly beleaguered. At Agra itself the 
Lieutenant-Governor was, until after the fall of Delhi, 
supported against 42,000 rebel soldiers by one com- 
pany's regiment of 655 effectives and one battery of six 
guns manned by Indian drivers. It was indeed for- 
tunate for our cause that in this province, which con- 
tains so much that is most national and most sacred 
in Hindu eyes, and has moreover been the centre of 
Muslim empire, the rebellion, although animated largely 
by racial and religious sentiment, was not a great 
patriotic or religious combination. Here is a con- 
temporary description of ordinary district occurrences 


away from the great centres of population : ' The 
villages and towns generally side with some neighbour- 
ing potentate, or more generally they side with no one 
at all. They are delighted at being relieved from all 
government whatsoever, and instantly set to work 
fighting among themselves. Every man of enterprise 
and a little influence collects his clan, and plunders all 
the weaker villages round him/* 

In Oudh, recently annexed, and the chief recruiting- 
ground of the old sepoy army, the landed aristocracy, 
who are now our good friends the talukdars, were boil- 
ing with rage and discontent. In our recent settlement 
of the land revenue we had inclined to the principle of 
pushing them aside as grasping middlemen devoid of 
right or title, and, when the sepoys mutinied, most of 
the talukdars naturally joined them. In the whole 
province we had not 1,000 British soldiers, but those 
whom we had, assisted by some loyal Indian troops, 
gave a remarkably good account of themselves. The 
rebellion in Oudh was more national than in Agra, 
but here, too, the fighters were generally more con- 
cerned to make as much as they could out of unusual 
opportunities for licence and plunder than to oppose 
a persistent and determined front to the enemy. 

Later on I shall have occasion to quote the remarks 
of a loyal and competent Indian observer on the events 
of the Mutiny. But what struck the late Sir Alfred 
Lyall, at that time a young civilian in the Agra Pro- 
vince, was the fierce hatred borne to us by the Muham- 
madans, and he put the whole rebellion down to them. 
This was an off-hand expression of opinion. But more 
weight attaches to his later views, expressed many 
years after his early adventures, that after the Mutiny 
the British turned on the Muhammadans as their real 
enemies " so that the failure of the revolt was much 


more disastrous to them than to the Hindus. They 
lost almost all their remaining prestige of traditionary 
superiority over the Hindus ; they forfeited for the 
time the confidence of their foreign rulers ; and it is 
from this period that must be dated the loss of their 
numerical majority in the higher subordinate ranks of 
the civil and military services." 

When the revolt had been suppressed, the Crown 
took over the government of India from the East India 
Company. Queen Victoria's Proclamation of Novem- 
ber 1st, 1858, which is frequently referred to by 
educated Indians as the Magna Charta of their liberties, 
declared that the rights, dignity, and honour of Indian 
ruling princes were to be preserved as Her Majesty's 
own, and that, so far as might be, all Her Majesty's 
subjects, of whatever race and creed, were to be freely 
and impartially admitted to offices in the public ser- 
vice, the duties of which they might be qualified by 
their education, ability, and integrity duly to discharge. 
The peaceful industry of India was to be stimulated ; 
works of public utility and improvement were to be 
promoted ; and the Government was to be admin- 
istered for the benefit of all Her Majesty's subjects 
resident in India. " In their prosperity will be our 
strength, in their contentment our security, and in 
their gratitude our great reward." Three years later, 
an important step was taken in the first association of 
Indians with the Government for legislative purposes. 
By the Councils Act of 1861 the Governor-General's 
Executive Council was to consist of five members, three 
of whom had been in the Indian service of the Crown 
for ten years at least. The Commander-in-Chief was 
to be an extraordinary member ; and for the purpose 
of making laws and regulations the Governor-General 
could nominate to his Council not less than six or more 


than twelve persons, not less than half of whom must 
be non-officials. 

The Governors of Bombay and Madras, who were 
also assisted by Executive Councils, could similarly 
nominate a few persons to aid in legislation, not less 
than half of whom must be non-officials. 

The Governor-General in Council could, with the 
approval of the Home Government, extend to the 
Lieutenant-Governors of Bengal, the North-Western 
Provinces, 1 and the Punjab, who ruled without Execu- 
tive Councils, the power to convoke small Legislative 
Councils and to appoint persons thereto, not less than 
one-third of whom would be non-officials. 

Prominent Indians were to be associated hence- 
forward with the Government in legislation. The 
association was to be extremely limited, but marked the 
beginning of a more liberal policy. 

At this time about two-thirds of the country was 
under direct British administration. The rest was, 
and is now, ruled by its hereditary chiefs, all owing 
allegiance to the British Crown. The area under British 
administration now consists of seven provinces, each 
under a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, and seven 
under Chief Commissioners. Four of the major pro- 
vinces exceed the United Kingdom in area, and two 
exceed it in population. 

All classes of the population were now led into the 
ways of peace, and the whole edifice settled down. 
Starting badly as usual in the recent conflict, the British 
had vindicated their supremacy, and now rapidly re- 
established peace and order throughout the country. 
Means of correspondence and communication rapidly 
improved ; British capital poured in ; railways and 
commerce developed ; schools and colleges grew and 

1 Now the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. 


multiplied, until at last the Muhammadans yielded to 
the general impulse and began to enter the English 
educational arena. The India of to-day gradually came 
into being. It was, in an important respect, a different 
country from that foreseen by Sir Thomas Munro. It 
involved more complex interests. He had not antici- 
pated the part which European capital would play in 
the development of an India no longer " standing before 
her captors like some beautiful stranger," but traversed 
by railways, served by steamships, and brought into 
the bustling consolidation of the modern world. So 
blind was his augury of this side of the future that he 
defended the monopoly of the East India Company on 
the ground that it was doubtful whether or not trade 
with India could be greatly increased. 

" No nation," he wrote, " will take from another 
what it can furnish cheaper and better itself. In India 
almost every article which the inhabitants require is 
made cheaper and better than in Europe. . . . Their 
simple mode of living renders all our furniture and 
ornaments for the decoration of the house and table 
utterly unserviceable to the Hindus." He saw no 
prospect of any considerable number of Europeans 
being able to make a livelihood in the country. ' The 
trading disposition of the natives induces me to think 
it impossible that any European trader can long re- 
main in the interior of India, and that they must all 
sooner or later be driven to the coast." 

Those were easy days for the rulers of India, for 
their superior efficiency was taken for granted, and 
opposition was scarce and insignificant. The ruling 
chiefs were less apprehensive and more contented than 
they had ever been before, and their content was re- 
flected in our own territories. These were administered 


by British officers, 1 assisted by a host of improving 
Indian subordinates. The officers themselves for the 
most part did their work, as it came, with zeal and 
energy, liking the people and holding generally that, 
in the words of a distinguished lieutenant-governor, 
" Good administration was like good digestion. It did 
its work and you heard no more about it." And indeed 
to the simple and docile masses of India, who desire 
only strong and sympathetic protection, good adminis- 
tration must always be the best of blessings. 

Mainly peasants living in mud-built huts and culti- 
vating small holdings, at times absorbed in pilgrimages 
or religious observances, they are generally preoccupied 

1 " The easiest way of understanding the organisation of a province 
is to think of it as composed of districts, which in all provinces, except 
Madras, are combined, in groups of usually from four to six, into divi- 
sions, under a commissioner. The average size of a district is 4,430 
square miles, or three-fourths the size of Yorkshire. Many are much 
bigger. Mymensingh district holds more human souls than Switzerland, 
Vizagapatam district, both in area and population, exceeds Denmark. 
In the United Provinces, where districts are small and the population 
dense, each collector is, on the average, in charge of an area as large as 
Norfolk and of a population as large as that of New Zealand. The com- 
missioner of the Tirhut division looks after far more people than the 
Government of Canada. 

" The district, which is a collector's charge, is the unit of administra- 
tion, but it is cut up into sub-divisions under assistants or deputy collec- 
tors, and these again into revenue collecting areas of smaller size. The 
provincial Government's general authority thus descends through the 
divisional commissioner in a direct chain to the district officer. The dis- 
trict officer has a dual capacity ; as collector he is head of the revenue 
organisation, and as magistrate he exercises general supervision over 
the inferior courts and, in particular, directs the police work. In areas 
where there is no permanent revenue settlement, he can at any time be 
in touch, through his revenue subordinates, with every inch of his terri- 
tory. This organisation in the first place serves its peculiar purpose of 
collecting the revenue and of keeping the peace. But, because it is so 
close-knit, so well-established, and so thoroughly understood by the 
people, it simultaneously discharges easily and efficiently an immense 
number of other duties." Montagu-Chelms/ord Report, paragraphs 122-3. 


with the prospects of the weather, the humours of their 
moneylenders and landlords, frequent litigation with 
these powerful persons or with other neighbours, and 
perhaps the exactions of some petty subordinate official. 
As was truly said in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report : 
" the physical facts of India, the blazing sun, the 
enervating rains, have coloured their mental outlook " ; 
and it is difficult to suppose that the day will ever come 
when these facts will cease largely to dominate their 
lives. Ignorant and credulous, industrious and frugal, 
but, in spite of frequent inroads of epidemics, breeding 
to the very margin of subsistence, they form with 
their landlords 90 per cent, of the population, and 
have always contributed by far the larger share of 
Indian revenues. The greatest natural asset of India 
is and must be its soil. It is, too, from those agricul- 
tural castes which are martial by tradition that the 
Army has always drawn its recruits. The importance 
in the body politic of the people who live on and 
by the land has been often overshadowed in these 
latter days, but things were not so formerly. It was 
to them and their affairs, to the ascertainment and 
codifying of their rights and tenures, to the adjustment 
and readjustment of their relations with their land- 
lords and with Government, it was to the protection 
of their interests, to the settlement of their feuds, that 
some of our most famous administrators, men who are 
remembered in their provinces as the salt and justifica- 
tion of British rule, devoted years of unremitting 
energy. British administration could never have pros- 
pered as it did, had they not done so. It is with the 
rural masses that district officers are still mostly con- 
cerned. In this untroubled period the rights of the 
people of India and the rights of their rulers agreed 
together in a silence that was seldom broken, and the 


foundations of comprehensive revenue and tenancy 
legislation, which had been well and truly laid by the 
East India Company, were examined, improved, and 
consolidated. Things worked on laborious but broad 
and simple lines in the interior of the country. 

But at the great seaports, with which the majority of 
English officials were seldom in personal contact, among 
those middle or professional classes which had originally 
embraced English education, thought was beginning to 
enter fresh channels and new problems were coming 
into dim outline. With some members of these the 
Hindu ideas of the unimportance of life, as a mere link 
in a chain of existences, of the desirability of rigid 
adherence to caste and family customs, as well as 
the ancient belief that the course of the four ages of 
the world was a continuous process of deterioration, 
were rapidly weakening. They were yielding to the 
allurements of a world of greater material comfort and 
of growing interest. Western education, English his- 
tory, English literature, the works of Milton, Burke, 
Macaulay, were inspiring ideas of liberty, nationality, 
self-government. From England were returning Indian 
visitors with accounts of unusual consideration 
conceded there. These and a commencing contact 
with the British democracy were producing the idea 
that Anglo-Indian social and political exclusiveness 
was humiliating and unjustifiable. Things should be 
changed ; power and high place should cease to be 
a preserve from which educated Indians were mainly 
shut out. In 1859 the late Sir Alfred Lyall, then a 
young civil officer, had written from the seclusion of 
an up-country district : 

" I am always thinking of the probable future of our 
Empire, and trying to conceive it possible to civilise 
and convert an enormous nation by establishing schools 


and missionary societies. Also having civilised them 
and taught them the advantage of liberty and the use 
of European sciences, how are we to keep them under 
us and persuade them that it is for their good that we 
hold all the high offices of Government ? ' 

The time was nearing when questions of this kind 
would call for answer. It is true that Act XXXIII of 
1870rwhile laying down the principle that "it is one 
of our first duties toward the people of India to guard 
the safety of our dominion," had provided for more 
extended employment of Indians in the uncovenanted 
civil service, and for promotion therefrom to the 
covenanted service " according to tried ability." But 
such promotions were rare and merely whetted rising 
ambitions. Education was expanding not only 
Indian capacities, but Indian desires. What if, after 
all, life could offer a more exciting prospect ? After 
some preliminary indications of discontent, the position 
became more fully disclosed. It contained a sinister 

The Mutiny had shown the ease with which the 
British could establish their supremacy, but had be- 
queathed a legacy of bitter memories to persons on 
both sides. Fear had, for some years, stifled expression 
of these ; but, as time went on, a section of the Indian 
Press began to display malignant hostility to the exist- 
ing state of things. 

The tendency of some vernacular newspapers, especi- 
ally in Calcutta, to excite popular feeling against the 
British Government had for some time attracted atten- 
tion. In 1873, Sir George Campbell, then Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal, and subsequently for many years a 
Liberal member of the House of Commons, had ex- 
pressed the opinion that special legislation was required ; 
and in 1878 an Act was passed by Lord Lytton's Legis- 


lative Council for the better control of the vernacular 

The following extracts from the speech of the Legal 
Member of the Government, who introduced the bill, 
explains clearly the mischief which was brewing : 

" But there is a large and increasing class of native 
newspapers which would seem to exist only for the 
sake of spreading seditious principles, of bringing the 
Government and its European officers into contempt, 
and of exciting antagonism between the governing race 
and the people of the country. This description of 
writing is not of very recent growth, but there has been 
a marked increase in it of late, and especially during 
the last three or four years. During the past twelve 
months it has been worse than ever, the writers gaining 
in boldness as they find that their writings are allowed 
to pass unpunished. Their principal topics are the 
injustice and tyranny of the British Government, its 
utter want of consideration towards its native subjects, 
and the insolence and pride of Englishmen in India, 
both official and non-official. There is no crime how- 
ever heinous, and no meanness however vile, which 
according to these writers is not habitually practised 
by their English rulers." 

The Honourable Member then proceeded to illustrate 
his argument with examples, and continued : 

" The extracts which I have read, are specimens, 
extracted haphazard from a great number, of the 
manner in which the British Government and the Eng- 
lish race are habitually aspersed and held up to the 
contempt and hatred of the people of India. Of late, 
however, a further step has been taken, and a begin- 
ning has been made in the direction of inciting the 
people to upset the British Raj by denunciations, 
sometimes open and sometimes covert, of the alleged 
weakness and timidity of the English and their in- 
ability to maintain their present position in India." 


The bill became Act IX of 1878. But it was de- 
nounced in England by Mr. Gladstone, who was then 
in opposition, and after his return to office it was 
repealed in 1882 by Lord Ripon's Government, who 
considered that circumstances no longer justified its 
existence. The evil which had brought it into being 
forthwith revived. Close on the repeal of the Vernacular 
Press Act followed the Ilbert Bill controversy. But 
before describing this melancholy episode, we must 
turn back a few years to incidents of wide and healthful 
importance in India's political history. 

She had recently been brought into touch with the 
Royal Family of England through the visit of the late 
King Edward, then Prince of Wales, and on January 
1st, 1877, a strong and abiding tie was forged when 
Her Majesty Queen Victoria, in recognition of the 
transfer of Government made in 1858, was at Delhi 
proclaimed Empress of India. As in 1858, so in 1877 
there was a real and living personal note in Her Majesty's 
message which evoked warm response. 

' We Victoria by the Grace of God, of the United 
Kingdom, Queen, Empress of India, send through our 
Viceroy to all our Officers, Civil and Military, and to all 
Princes, Chiefs and Peoples now at Delhi assembled, 
our Royal and Imperial greeting, and assure them of 
the deep interest and earnest affection with which we 
regard the people of our Indian Empire. We witnessed 
with heartfelt satisfaction the reception which they 
have accorded to our beloved son, and have been 
touched by the evidence of their loyalty and attach- 
ment to our House and throne. We trust that the 
present occasion may tend to unite in bonds of yet 
closer affection ourselves and our subjects ; that from 
the highest to the humblest all may feel that under our 
rule the great principles of liberty, equity, and justice 
are secured to them ; and that to promote their happi- 


ness, to add to their prosperity, and advance their 
welfare, are the ever present aims and objects of our 

The response of the Ruling Chiefs expressed a senti- 
ment which has never since varied. 1 It was voiced by 
His Highness the Maharaja Scindia after the delivery 
of the Viceroy's address : 

" Shah-in-shah Padishah, may God bless you ! The 
princes of India bless you, and pray that your sover- 
eignty and power may remain stedfast for ever." 

The Maharaja of Kashmir said that in the shadow 
of Her Majesty's gracious Empire would be his chief 

The speech of the Viceroy at the State banquet 
contained a great undertaking : 

" There is one thing above all others that this British 
Empire in India does mean. It means this. It means 
that all its subjects shall live at peace with one an- 
other ; that every one of them shall be free to grow 
rich in his own way, provided his way be not a criminal 
way ; that every one of them shall be free to hold 
and follow his own religious belief without assailing 
the religious beliefs of other people, and to live un- 
molested by his neighbour. At first sight, that may 
seem a very plain and simple polity, and very easy 
to be applied. But, when you come to apply it to an 
empire multitudinous in its traditions, as well as in its 
inhabitants, almost infinite in the variety of races 
which populate it and of creeds which have shaped 
their character, you find that it involves administrative 
problems unsolved by Caesar, unsolved by Charlemagne, 
unsolved by Akbar. It seems a very simple thing to 
say that we shall keep the peace of the empire ; but if 
we are to keep the peace of it, we must have laws to 
1 See Appendix VIII. 


settle quarrels which would otherwise disturb its peace ; 
and if we are to have such laws, we must frame them 
into a system at once comprehensive and intelligible. 
Again, if we are to enforce any such system of law, we 
must have judges to administer it, and police to carry 
out the orders of the judges, and then we must have 
troops to protect the judges, the police, the people and 
all concerned. Well then, when you come to introduce 
this elaborate system of administration into a vast 
continent . . . you find that the work in which you 
are engaged is nothing less than this, that you are 
modifying, unavoidably modifying not harshly, not 
suddenly, but slowly, gently and with sympathy, but 
still modifying the whole collective social life and 
character of the population of the Empire. . . . But 
our proclamation of the Imperial title implies some- 
thing more. It implies that henceforth the honour 
of the British Crown, and consequently the power of 
the British Empire, are committed to the continued 
maintenance and defence of this Empire. . . . For my 
own part, I hope and believe that the impressive 
demonstration of an Imperial power, conscious of its 
duties, but also confident in its rights which it was our 
privilege to witness this morning, will be a significant 
and sufficient intimation that Her Majesty . . . will 
not relinquish under any difficulty the task in which 
she is engaged as regards this Empire ; that she will 
not abandon to any enemy the great inheritance she 
holds in trust for her descendants/' 

1 return to a less cheerful page in Indian politics. 
The question at issue in the Ilbert Bill controversy 
was originally raised by a note forwarded to the Bengal 
Provincial Government by a Bengali Hindu civilian 
serving in his own province. He represented the 
anomalous position in which the Indian members of 
the Civil Service were placed under the provisions of 
the Code of Criminal Procedure, which limited the 
jurisdiction to be exercised over European British sub- 


jects outside Calcutta to judicial officers who were 
themselves European British subjects. 

The note was forwarded to the Government of India 
with the views of the Government of Bengal ; and the 
Government of India published proposals the effect of 
which would have been " to settle the question of juris- 
diction over European British subjects in such a way 
as to remove from the Code at once and immediately 
every judicial qualification which is based merely on 
race distinctions." The proposals met with fierce Euro- 
pean opposition. They were considered to imperil the 
liberties of British non-officials. After being under 
consideration for over a year, they were finally largely 
withdrawn. " Nothing could be more lamentable/' it 
has truly been said, " than the animosities of race that 
the whole controversy aroused." There can be no 
doubt that it was a serious catastrophe, especially in 
Bengal, exciting keen racial feeling on both sides, and 
impressing many educated Indians with the idea that 
in British India they must, unless a reorganisation of 
relations could be contrived, for ever occupy a hopelessly 
subject position. Lord Ripon, then Viceroy, was, they 
knew, on their side in these contentions, and he further 
gratified their aspirations by exerting himself to extend 
and advance local self-government through increasing 
the powers and functions of the municipal boards and 
local cess committees instituted in the sixties. His 
aim was by such methods to forward general political 

He left India at the end of 1884 amid such acclama- 
tions from the educated classes as had been accorded 
to no preceding Governor-General, and has ever since 
been regarded by those classes as their great champion 
and patron. 

And before closing this introductory chapter, I must 


mention another movement, hardly noticed in those 
days, which was, later on, to take no small part in 
moulding the aspirations of the English-educated 

''' India/' it has been said, " is not only a land of 
romance, art, and beauty. It is, in religion, earth's 
central shrine." The face of the country is covered 
with places of worship. 1 India, as Sir Alfred Lyall has 
said, contains three great historic religions and has 
given birth to a fourth. Yet Western rationalism 
was turning the minds of some Indians away from 
religion, when a Hindu ascetic, Swami Dayanand, 
began to preach return from idols to the faith of the 
early Aryans, of a reputed golden age when the land 
prospered and was blessed, before the foreigner came. 
He founded the now large and growing sect of the 
Arya Samaj, and familiarised many Hindus with the 
conception of a far-away great and independent Hindu 
India, since degraded, by corrupt religious teaching 
and foreign intrusion. His efforts were assisted by the 
Theosophists, Colonel Olcott, an American, Madame 
Blavatsky, a Russian, and their followers, who, in 1878, 
called themselves the Theosophical Society of the Arya 
Samaj, but subsequently separated from the disciples 
of Dayanand as too sectarian for their taste. Never- 
theless Madame Blavatsky, a lady who believed herself 
to have been Hindu in a previous incarnation, and 
those with her, continued to proclaim the greatness of 
the Hindu religion and the present degeneration of 
India from the era of ancient Aryan grandeur. 

The idea of an ancient unified independent Hindu 

1 " Buildings devoted to religious worship are extremely numerous 
in India. There are few villages or hamlets which have not at least one. 
It is even a generally received opinion that no place should be inhabited 
where there is no temple, for otherwise the inhabitants would run grave 
risks of misfortune." ABBE DTTBOIS. 


Empire owed its origin to the fact that once in the 
third century B.C., and again in the fourth century A.D., 
the greater part of India had been governed by Hindu 
emperors. Each period produced a great ruler ; but 
information regarding these empires is scanty. They 
were strong and prosperous, but neither lasted long. 
They were fugitive intervals in ages of disintegration. 1 

In Europe, at this time, Professor Max Miiller's edi- 
tion of the Rig Veda, the knowledge of the law, had 
introduced a new period in Sanskrit scholarship, and 
had preached to all the beauties of Indo- Aryan litera- 
ture, the flights of India's native philosophy, the devo- 
tion of its ancient faith. 

And so, about the time when English-educated 
Hindus were impelled by particular circumstances to 
impatience of British domination, and Hindu youths 
were reading in schools and colleges of British love of 
Britain, of British struggles to be free, certain Hindus 
and Europeans were assuring all who listened that 
India too had a glorious past and a religion supreme 
and elevating. It was not surprising that in some 
minds the conception of an India famous and pros- 
perous long ago, before the foreigner came, began to 
obliterate thoughts of the subsequent centuries of in- 
glorious discord before the first Muhammadan invasion 
from Central Asia and of the India much later still, 
rescued, as the greatest of Hindu politicians has ad- 
mitted, from chaos and oppression by British rule. 1 
Later on we shall see how among certain classes of 
Hindus peculiar circumstances developed this concep- 

1 See Appendix I. 

2 " The blessings of peace, the establishment of law and order, the 
introduction of Western education, and the freedom of speech and the 
appreciation of liberal institutions that have followed in its wake all 
these are things that stand to the credit of your rule." Speech by Mr, 
Ookhale on November 5th, 1905. 


tion into a genuine enthusiasm ; but, Colonel Olcott 
asserts that even in the early 'eighties the new idea was 
able to awake no ordinary sympathy among emotional 
English- educated audiences. Of a lecture on the past, 
present, and future of India, delivered at Amritsar in 
October 1881, his diaries, published long afterwards, 
record : 

" People who imagine the Hindus to be devoid of 
patriotic feeling should have seen the effect on my 
huge audience as I depicted the greatness of ancient 
and the fallen state of modern India. Murmurs of 
pleasure or sighs of pain broke from them ; at one 
moment they would be cheering and vehemently ap- 
plauding, the next keeping silent while the tears were 
streaming from their eyes/' 

Behind feelings of this kind was the racial resentment 
which had already manifested itself in the press, and 
had been intensified by the Ilbert Bill controversy. 
Altogether it is clear that when Lord Kipon was suc- 
ceeded in the Viceroyalty by Lord Duiferin, various 
influences were working to produce some kind of up- 
heaval among certain Hindus who, with English educa- 
tion, were learning to feel after English political ideals. 
They were few in number. They were coldly regarded 
by the aristocracy, by the territorial and martial 
classes, by the Muhammadans. They stood apart from 
the masses. They were peaceable people, and their 
ambitions were peaceable. In the path of these am- 
bitions stood a social system opposed to democratic 
ideals, and buttressed by the influence of a powerful 
hierarchy on rigid caste organisations. 

' We have been subject," said a learned Hindu pro- 
fessor, 1 in a lecture delivered before the close of the 

* Sir R. G. Bhandarkar. 


last century, " to a three-fold tyranny ; political 
tyranny, priestly tyranny, and a social tyranny or the 
tyranny of caste. Crushed down by this, no man has 
dared to stand and assert himself. Even religious re- 
formers have shunned the legitimate consequences of 
their doctrines to avoid coming into conflict with the 
established order of things. ... At present, however, 
though we live under a foreign government, we enjoy a 
freedom of thought and action, such as we never en- 
joyed before under our own Hindu princes. But have 
we shown a capacity to shake ourselves free from 
priestly and social tyranny 1 ? I am afraid, not much/' 

The path to wider political freedom was to prove by 
no means dim cult to tread. The path to religious and 
social emancipation was far steeper and less attractive. 
It has not yet been trodden with determined purpose 
by the great majority of Hindus. 

1 The President of the 1917 Indian National Social Conference empha- 
sised the necessity of "extending the right hand of fellowship to the 
backward classes," promoting the education of women, and raising the 
age of Hindu marriage. These he considered the main social objectives. 




THE year 1885 saw the formal inauguration of modern 
Indian politics.; Lord Dufferin had just succeeded 
Lord Eipon, and it will be useful to summarise general 

I have already shown how the country was admin- 
istered. In every district were some beginnings of 
popular control in the shape of Lord Kipon's municipal 
and district Boards, but higher up nothing of this 
nature existed. No Indian was member of any Im- 
perial or Provincial Executive Council, and the few 
Indians who sat on Legislative Councils were nominated 
or selected by Government. A very few Indians, for 
the most part Hindus, were Judges of High Courts. 
The number of Indians in the Covenanted Civil Service 
was infinitesimal. It was open to those who could 
afford the effort to compete for the Service in England, 
but few availed themselves of this opportunity and 
fewer obtained admission. Indians were hardly, if at 
all, represented on the higher grades of the Indian 
Medical Service, and almost all the leaders of the Bar 
were Europeans. The dominant influence too in Anglo- 
Vernacular schools and colleges was English, although 
a change was impending in Bengal in consequence of 
the recommendations of the Education Commission of 

British exclusiveness was far stronger than it has 



since become ; but the subordinate services were chiefly 
manned by Indians ; and it must be remembered that 
the English-educated were far less numerous than 
they are now. Since the Viceroyalty of Lord DufEerin, 
" schools have more than doubled ; higher education 
has increased threefold ; printing presses and news- 
papers have multiplied ; and the production of books in 
English has increased by 200 per cent." * The English- 
educated, too, were then, as now, mainly Hindus of the 
peaceful castes. Among them the fighting races the 
Sikhs, the Gurkhas, the Rajputs, the Pathans were 
hardly represented at all. The Brahmans indeed have 
contributed valuable soldiers to the Indian Army, and 
had, in considerable measure, availed themselves of 
English education ; but the English-educated Brahmans 
did not, as a rule, belong to the martial families. Nor 
did advanced Indians count among their ranks many 
members of the territorial aristocracy. Their recruits 
were almost entirely drawn from castes clerical, pro- 
fessional, or mercantile by tradition. Thus it is easy 
to understand why, in spite of the liberal wording of 
Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858, the Govern- 
ment of a highly conservative country, inhabited by 
various intermingled races hitherto ruled by the strongest, 
hesitated to call to its highest places Indians who owed 
their status solely to their literary accomplishments. 
For centuries before British rule the history of India 
had been a history of conquests from Central Asia, each 
conquest enduring until the invaders from the hills 
and uplands had largely merged in the industrious and 
less vigorous people of the plains. From the day of 
Plassey, the British had been constantly opposed by 
armed States or levies, and within the twelve years 
before the Proclamation had been engaged in desperate 

1 Montagu-Chelmsford Report, paragraph 141. 


wars with the Sikhs and with their own Indian Army. 
The strongest had always prevailed. 

The English-educated section of Indians did not 
represent any of these late adversaries. That it would 
one day become a power in the land, a power of an 
altogether new kind, was vaguely recognised ; but that 
day was relegated by general opinion to a far-distant 
future. Inadequate count was taken of the trend of 
politics in Great Britain herself, and of the slowly grow- 
ing interest of a small section of the British democracy 
in Indian affairs ; and no one foresaw the extraordinary 
progress and triumphs of Japan or the stimulus which 
these were to impart to Indian aspirations. 

By one observer, indeed, the significance of the 
enthusiastic demonstrations which had accompanied 
Lord Ripon's departure was noted. In a leading 
English newspaper appeared an article " If it be real, 
what does it mean ? ' The author was the late Sir 
Auckland Colvin, a Civil Servant of wide practical 
experience. In eloquent language, he warned his 
countrymen to " search for the spirit of the time to 
which the present days are bringing us, to recognise 
that the rapid development of railways was facilitating 
the interchange of ideas among Indians, the beat of the- 
engine was breaking down barriers which the voices of 
many missionaries had failed to remove ; that the 
Indian mind was marching on, eager to do what it, for 
its own part, had to do." But, just as now, even the 
most ambitious section of Indian Progressives has been 
compelled to recognise the perils from Central Asia to 
which India, unsheltered by British protection, would 
certainly be exposed, so in 1885 disputes with Russia 
about the Afghan frontier caused all classes in India 
to realise their dependence on the stability of British 
rule. " The danger," wrote the late Sir Alfred Lyall, 


then Lieutenant-Governor of the North- West Pro- 
vinces, " has made the Indian people very loyal ; they 
are in great dread of some widespread political revolu- 
tion if we get an upset, and they are all afraid of each 
other. In short, we represent peace and a firm govern- 
ment, whereas anything else leads to unfathomable con- 

*\In March, 1885, some Indians of the new school of 
thought, seeking for a remedy for the then existing state 
of things, decided to hold a Congress of delegates of 
their own persuasion from all parts of British India. 
This resolution appears to have been largely inspired 
by the late Mr. Allan Octavian Hume, whom his fol- 
lowers have always called " the Father of the Congress." 
Mr. Hume was the son of Joseph Hume, a well-known 
Liberal. From 1849 to 1882 he had been a member of 
the Covenanted Civil Service. He had been decorated 
for good work in the Mutiny, and had retired from a 
Secretaryship to the Government of India. Since re- 
tirement he had lived at Simla, largely devoting his 
energies to propagating among educated Indians the 
precepts of English Radicalism. In a published corre- 
spondence of a later date, which once attracted con- 
siderable attention, but has long been generally for- 
gotten, he justified his propaganda by alleging that 
the Pax Britannica had failed to solve the economic 
problem ; that the peasantry were ravaged by famine 
and despair ; that Government was out of touch with 
the people ; that there was no safety for the masses 
till the administration was gradually leavened by a 
representative Indian element. He considered it "of 
paramount importance to find an overt and constitu- 
tional channel for discharge of the increasing ferment 
which had resulted from Western ideas and education." 
\The prospectus of the new movement stated that 


the direct objects of the Conference would be (a) to 
enable the most earnest labourers in the cause of 
national progress to become personally known to each 
other ; (6) to discuss and decide upon the political 
operations to be undertaken during the ensuing year. 
The prospectus further announced : " Indirectly this 
Conference will form the germ of a Native Parliament, 
and if properly conducted will constitute in a few years 
an unanswerable reply to the assertion that India is 
still wholly unfit for any form of representative insti- 
tution." In pursuance of these instructions the first 
Congress met in Bombay on December 28th, 29th, 
and 30th, 1885. It was attended by seventy-two dele- 
gates, mostly lawyers, schoolmasters, or newspaper 
editors, collected, sometimes after considerable effort, 
from various cities or large towns, and by a few Indian 
Government servants as friendly lookers-on.^ Only two 
of the delegates present were Muhammadans, and 
these were Bombay attorneys. Mr. W. Boner jee, then 
Standing Counsel to Government in Calcutta, was 
elected president. He proclaimed that one of the 
objects of the Association was " the eradication, by 
direct friendly personal intercourse, of all possible race, 
creed, or provincial prejudices amongst all lovers of 
our country, and the fuller development and consolida- 
tion of those sentiments of national unity that had 
their origin in our beloved Lord Ripon's memorable 
reign/' Britain had given them order, railways, " above 
all, the inestimable benefit of Western education. But 
the more progress a people made in education and 
material prosperity, the greater would be their insight 
into political matters and the keener their desire for 
political advancement/' He thought that their desire 
to be governed according to the ideas of government 
prevalent in Europe was in no way incompatible with 


their thorough loyalty to the British Government. All 
that they desired was that the basis of government 
should be widened, and that the people should have their 
natural and legitimate share therein. 

The first speaker to the first resolution, Mr. Sub- 
ramania Aiyar, 1 of Madras, said : 

" By a merciful dispensation of Providence, India, 
which was for centuries the victim of external aggres- 
sion and plunder, of internal civil wars and general 
confusion, has been brought under the dominion of the 
great British Power. I need not tell you how that 
event introduced a great change in the destiny of her 
people, how the inestimable good that has flowed from 
it has been appreciated by them. The rule of Great 
Britain has, on the whole, been better in its results 
and direction than any former rule. Without descant- 
ing at length upon the benefits of that rule, I can sum- 
marise them in one remarkable fact that for the first 
time in the history of the Indian populations there is 
to be beheld the phenomenon of national unity among 
them, of a sense of national existence/' 

Various resolutions were passed, one demanding the ! 
expansion of the supreme and Provincial Legislative 
Councils by the admission of a considerable number of 
members elected by such organised bodies as municipal 
and district boards. Thus enlarged, these Councils 
were to have a voice to interpellate the Executive on all 
points of administration. 

1 Lately famous as the author of a letter to President Wilson, which 
contained the following passage : 

" Permit me to add that you and the other leaders have been kept 
in ignorance of the full measure of misrule and oppression in India. 
Officials of an alien nation, speaking a foreign tongue, force their will 
upon us ; they grant themselves exorbitant salaries and large allow- 
ances ; they refuse us education ; they sap us of our wealth ; they impose 
crushing taxes without our consent ; they cast thousands of our people 
into prisons for uttering patriotic sentiments prisons so filthy that often 
the inmates die from loathsome diseases." 


It was also recommended that a Standing Committee 
of the House of Commons should be constituted to 
receive and consider any formal protests that might be 
recorded by majorities of the new Legislative Councils 
against the exercise by the Executive Government of 
the power, which would be vested in it, of overruling 
the decisions of any such majorities. 

Another resolution recommended simultaneous exami- 
nations in India and England for admission into the 
Indian Civil Service. There had been some idea of discuss- 
ing social reform, but only two addresses were delivered 
on the subject, the main objective being political. 

The next Congress met at Calcutta on December 
27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th, 1886. It was claimed for 
this Congress that it marked " a total change of char- 
acter. Everybody wanted to come of his own accord." 
It was admitted that in 1885 " people had to be pressed 
land entreated to come." 

[The Conference was attended by 440 delegates, elected 
either at public meetings or by societies and associa- 
tions. Two hundred and thirty of these came from 
Bengal. The old aristocracy were entirely absent. 
The shopkeeping classes were represented by one 
member. This deficiency was ascribed by the author 
of the introductory article to the record of proceedings, 
to the fact that these classes, ignorant and immersed 
in their own concerns, cared for no change in a form of 
government which both prevented others from robbing 
them and " by its system of civil jurisprudence " afforded 
them ample opportunities for enriching themselves] 
The cultivating classes were " inadequately represented." 
This was because " though a great number realise that 
the times are out of joint, they have not learnt to 
rise from particular instances to generalisations, and 
they neither understand clearly what is wrong, nor have 


they as a class any clear or definite ideas as to what 
could or ought to be done to lighten somewhat their 
lot in life." There were thirty-three Muhammadan 
delegates. This was ascribed partly to the " present 
lack of higher education among our Muhammadan 
brethren," and partly to the fact that three prominent 
Calcutta Muhammadans had publicly declared against 
the Congress, preferring " a policy of confidence in the 
Government." By far the greater majority of the dele- 
gates came from Bengal. The Punjab sent only seven- 
teen and the Central Provinces eight. Mr. Dadabhai 
Naoroji, a Parsi, and well known as the first Indian who 
has sat in the British Parliament, was elected Presi- 
dent. The resolutions closely resembled those of the 
previous year. One asked for the authorisation of a 
system of volunteering for Indians which would^ enable 
them to support Government in any crisis. Another 
related to " the increasing poverty of vast numbers of 
the population of India." 

The president remarked on the blessings of British 
rule, in the stable foundation of which the Congress 
was another stone. 

" Let us speak out," he said, " like men, and pro- 
claim that we are loyal to the backbone ; that we 
understand the benefits English rule has conferred on 
us ; the education that has been given to us ; the new 
light which has been poured on us, turning us from 
darkness into light, and teaching us the new lesson 
that kings are made for the people, not peoples for 
their kings ; and this lesson we have learned amid the 
darkness of Asiatic despotism only by the light of free 
English civilisation." l 

1 These words may be compared with some sentences from a recent 
speech by Mr. B. G. Tilak, reported in the Leader issue of October 
10th, 1917. 

" They knew on what principle the bureaucracy governed India for 


The virtual abstention of Muhammadans from the 
Congress movement was largely due to the influence of 
Sir Saiyid Ahmad, and it is worth while to turn aside 
from the main course of my narrative in order to give 
some account of this great man. 

Sir Saiyid Ahmad was born at Delhi in the year 
1817, and belonged to a family of considerable note 
at the court of the Moghal Emperors. In the year 
1837 he obtained a clerical post in the British service. 
Twenty years later he had risen to the position of a 
Subordinate Judge, and when the Mutiny broke out at 
Bijnor in these provinces, he gave noble proofs of loyalty. 
"No language that I could use," said a Lieutenant- 
Governor in subsequently referring to Saiyid Ahmad's 
Mutiny services, " would be worthy of the devotion 
which he showed/' 

In 1858 Saiyid Ahmad wrote in his own vernacular 
an account of the causes of the revolt which was long 
afterwards translated and published in English. His 
appreciation of British rule in India was by no means 
wholesale, and his criticisms deserve our careful con- 
sideration even now. It is remarkable that he attri- 
buted the outbreak largely to the absence of all Indians 
from the Supreme Legislative Council. 

" The evils," he wrote, " which resulted from the 
non-admission of natives into the Legislative Council 
were various. Government could never know the in- 
advisability of the laws and regulations which it passed. 
It could never hear the voice of the people on such a 
subject. The people had no means of protesting against 
what they might feel to be a foolish measure, or of 

the last 100 years. They were a self-governing nation before. They 
knew how to organise an army, they knew how to dispense justice, they 
had laws, regulations, etc. All those had been swept away, and now 
the bureaucracy said that they knew nothing about them. Who was 
responsible for that ? Not the Indians." 


giving public expression to their wishes. But the 
greatest mischief lay in this, that the people misunder- 
stood the views and intentions of Government. They 
misapprehended every act, and whatever law was 
passed was misconstrued by men who had no share in 
the framing of it and hence no means of judging of its 
spirit. ... I wish to say that the views of Government 
were misconstrued by the people, and that this mis- 
construction hurried on the rebellion. Had there been 
a native of Hindustan in the Legislative Council, the 
people would never have fallen into such errors. . . . 
There was no real communication between the governors 
and the governed, no living together or near one an- 
other as has always been the custom of the Muham- 
madans in countries which they subjected to their rule. 
Government and its officials have never adopted this 
course, without which no real knowledge of the people 
can be gained/' Further on he asserted : " Now, in 
the first years of the British rule in India, the people 
were heartily in favour of it. This good feeling the 
Government has now forfeited, and the natives very 
generally say that they are treated with contempt. A 
native gentleman is, in the eyes of any petty official, as 
much lower than that official as that same official esteems 
himself lower than a duke. The opinion of many of 
these officials is that no native can be a gentleman. . . . 
There are many English officials who are well-known 
for their kindness and friendly feeling toward the 
natives, and these are in consequence much beloved by 
them, are, to use a native expression, as the sun and 
moon to them, and are pointed out as types of the 
old race of officials." 

After the Mutiny Saiyid Ahmad exerted himself 
strenuously to make peace between the Government 
and his co-religionists and to reform the Muhammadan 
educational system. Although his boyhood had known 
no other, he was convinced that the ordinary Muham- 
madan education was inadequate and out of date- 


" Cure the root/' he said, " and the tree \vill flourish." 
He did all he could to " cure the root/ 5 and, at the age 
of fifty-two, travelled to England to enter his son at 
Cambridge University, and to see what measures were 
desirable for the establishment of a Muhammadan 
Anglo-Oriental College in Upper India. This he finally 
accomplished, and the famous College at Aligarh is his 
abiding monument. While affording religious instruc- 
tion to Muhammadans alone, it admits scholars of all 
faiths ; and the whole attitude of its great founder, 
who frequently and strongly championed the tenets of 
Islam, was invariably tolerant and liberal. He rejoiced 
in the spread and growth of English education in India, 
believing that enlightenment meant loyalty to Britain. 
His spirit is reflected in the address presented to Lord 
Kipon in 1884 by the Aligarh College Committee, which 
contains the following passage : 

' The time has happily passed when the Muham- 
madans of India looked upon their condition as hope- 
less, when they regarded the past with feelings of 
mournful sorrow. Their hopes are now inclined to the 
promise of the future ; their hearts, full of loyalty to 
the rule of the Queen-Empress, aspire to finding dis- 
tinction and prominence among the various races of 
the vast Empire over which Her Majesty holds sway. 
It is to help the realisation of these aspirations that 
this College has been founded ; and we fervently hope 
that among the results which may flow from our system 
of education, not the least important will be the pro- 
motion of friendly feelings of social intercourse and 
interchange of amenities of life between the English 
community in India and the Muhammadan popula- 

In spite of his strong liberal sympathies, Sir Saiyid 
Ahmad would have nothing to do iwith the Congress, 
and advised his co-religionists to follow his example. 


Although he had his enemies and detractors, his in- 
fluence was enormous, and it determined the attitude 
of the great majority of his people. Some years ago 
one of his co-religionists attributed this attitude to 
three causes : 

(a) the violence of many publications distributed 

broadcast before the launching of the Congress ; 

(6) the excessive blandishments of the Congress 

leaders ; 

(c) the advocacy by the Congress of elective prin- 
ciples, and open competition, with no regard 
for minorities. 

I now return to the Congress movement. In Decem- 
ber 1888, Lord Dufferin was succeeded in the Vice- 
royalty by Lord Lansdowne. At a farewell dinner in 
Calcutta he had referred to the Congress party as a 
" microscopic minority/' but he was far too astute a 
statesman not to be impressed by the movement, and 
confidentially sent home proposals for liberalising the 
Legislative Councils, " which," he wrote to the Secre- 
tary of State, " is all that the reasonable leaders even 
of the most advanced section of Young India dream of." 
He was, however, dealing with wider ambitions. There 
was a strong demand for more general and higher em- 
ployment in the Public Services, a belief that in this re- 
spect the educated classes were dwarfed and stunted. 
He had indeed appointed a Commission of inquiry 
into this matter, but its recommendations were received 
some time after his departure, and by no means pleased 
the advanced party. 

The Congress of 1888 was attended by 1,248 delegates. 
Great efforts had been made by the leaders to stultify 
Lord Dufferin's estimate of their importance. Six 
Europeans attended, and the president was Mr. George 
Yule, a prominent Calcutta merchant, who complained 

that the British non-official class was disfranchised in 
India, and had no more voice than 'Indians in the 
government of the country. Complaint was made by 
various speakers of the official attitude as needlessly 
unfriendly. The resolutions passed were on lines 
already described. Among other things, they recom- 
mended abolition of the distinctions created by the 
Arms Act, military colleges for natives of India, and 
an inquiry into the industrial condition of the country. 
At the sixth Congress, held at Calcutta in 1890, and 
attended by 702 delegates, including 156 Muham- 
madans, the Chairman of the Reception Committee 
welcomed the delegates in the following words : 

" It is perfectly correct that the ignorant classes 
whom we seek to represent are still unable in many 
provinces to take an active interest in the many social 
and administrative problems which are now engaging 
the attention of the educated classes ; but history 
teaches us that in all countries and in all ages it is the 
thinking who lead the unthinking, and we are bound 
to think for ourselves and others who are still too 
ignorant to exercise that important function." 

A speaker relied on some words of Mr. Gladstone to 
the effect that a man would be deemed mad who de- 
nounced the system of popular representation. Two 
other speakers alleged the existence of a political faith 
common to Hindus and Muhammadans. A note in 
the introduction to the printed account of the Congress 
proceedings observed, in regard to the alleged antagon- 
ism between the two communities : ' We would like 
very much to know whether Great Britain herself is 
not divided into two sections, one of which is bitterly 
hostile to the other and desirous of opposing it on all 
occasions/' The tone of the concluding passages of 
the same introduction was more antagonistic to British 


ride than any previous official Congress utterance. 
Acknowledgment was made during the meetings of the 
kind reception in England of certain delegates. The 
Congress was supplemented by a Social Conference. 

National Social Conferences had begun in 1887, but 
languished later. At the social conference of 1895 the 
following message from the Congress President-elect 
was read to the meeting. ' The raison d'etre for ex- 
cluding social questions from our deliberations is that 
if we were to take up such questions, it might lead to 
serious differences, ultimately culminating in a schism, 
and it is a matter of the first importance to prevent a 
split." Mr. Justice Kanade, an ardent social reformer, 
held different views. At the Bombay social conference 
held at Satara in 1900, he said, in his inaugural address : 

" I know that there are those among us who see no 
advantage in holding local or national gatherings of this 
sort for the consideration of social topics. There are 
others who think that though such gatherings have 
their uses, they should not be joined together in place 
and time with the political meeting, as they only serve 
to detract the attention of the workers and lead to no 
practical results. It may be of use to attempt a brief 
reply to both objections. As regards the first difficulty, 
it seems to me to arise from a confusion of ideas which 
is prejudicial to the right appreciation of our duties, 
both in the political and in the social sphere. ... As 
I understand it, this distinction between the two spheres 
of our activities is based on a radical mistake. . . . 
Politics are not merely petitioning and memorialising 
for gifts and favours. Gifts and favours are of no 
value unless we have deserved the concessions by our 
own elevation and our own struggles. ' You shall live 
by the sweat of your brow " is not the curse pronounced 
on man, but the very conditions of his existence and 
growth. Whether in the political, or social or religious 



or commercial, or manufacturing or sesthetical spheres, 
in literature, in science, in art, in war, in peace, it is the 
individual and collective man who has to develop his 
powers by his own exertions in conquering the diffi- 
culties in his way. If he is down for the time, he has 
to get up with the whole of his strength, physical, 
moral, and intellectual ; and you may as well suppose 
that he can develop one of those elements of strength 
and neglect the others, as try to separate the light from 
the heat of the sun or the beauty and fragrance from 
the rose. You cannot have a good social system when 
you find yourself low in the scale of political rights, 
nor can you be fit to exercise political rights and privi- 
leges unless your social system is based on reason and 

These were wise words ; but the obstacles to social 
reform were partly religious, and Indian social re- 
formers have seldom been able to carry their cause 
far beyond conferences and resolutions. It suffered 
severely from the death of Ranade, who was a man of 
genuine courage and character. 

A question which arose in connection with the 1890 
Congress elicited the following reply from the Viceroy's 
Private Secretary : 

' The Government of India recognise that the Con- 
gress movement is regarded as representing what would 
in Europe be called the advanced Liberal party, as 
distinguished from the great body of Conservative 
opinion which exists side by side with it. They desire 
themselves to maintain an attitude of neutrality in 
their relations with both parties, so long as these act 
strictly within their constitutional functions." 

l In 1892 a new Councils Act was passed. Its pro- 
visions had been outlined by Lord Dufferin before 
his departure. 1 It enlarged the Legislative Councils, 

1 See paragraphs 60-69 of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report. 


conferring on local boards and corporations the right 
of recommending persons for appointment thereto, sub- 
ject to the approval of fche recommendations by Govern- 
ment. It safeguarded the authority of Government by 
leaving it a majority on each Council and by restrict- 
ing the right of debate and of asking questions ; but it 
decidedly extended the application of the principle, first 
admitted in 1858, of associating prominent non-officials 
in legislation. The Congress of 1892 was dissatisfied, 
and further expressed disappointment with the orders 
passed on the report of the Public Services Commission 
appointed by Lord Dufferin. About this time, the 
Congress Committee, which had been established in 
London, and consisted mainly of English Radicals, 
started the periodical India for the promotion of Con- 
gress propaganda. 

I have now traced in some detail the early history 
of the Congress movement, allowing its leaders to speak 
for themselves. I now propose to review briefly the 
period from 1892 to 1897. 

The proceedings of the annual meetings during this 
period were similar in character to those which I have 
already described. As English -educated Indians multi- 
plied, adherents of the Congress increased not only in 
the big cities, but also in the smaller centres, the great 
majority coming from the classes which had initiated 

\the movement. The tone of the Indian press toward 
the British Government and British officials did not 
improve ; and although the politicians did not seriously 
attempt to advance their main position, largely, no 

Ndoubt, because the period in Britain was one of decided 
conservative ascendency, they developed a practice of 
sending delegates to allege before British audiences the 
poverty of India, the exclusive and selfish character of 
the Administraton, the need of popular government. 

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that all the 
party really meant as much as this. Many were pros- 
perous under the existing order of things, were on ' 
friendly terms with European officials, and were per- 
fectly well aware that strong and effective British con- ' 
trol was essential for the welfare of the country. And 
many were capable of bringing Western political ideas 
into practical relation with the peculiar conditions of 
India, but were perhaps inclined to keep their least 
popular opinions to themselves. 

Muhammadans continued to hold aloof from the 
movement ; but in 1894 appeared more vigorous mani- 
festations of Hindu impatience with existing conditions. 

In 1893, riots had occurred in the city of Bombay,! 
between Hindus and Muhammadans; and, subsequently,! / 
in order to stimulate Hindu enthusiasm, persons who 
wished to widen the breach between the two com- 
munities started public festivals in honour of Ganpati, 
the elephant-headed god of wisdom and success. It 
was arranged that images of Ganpati should be attended 
by melas, or groups of young men trained in fencing 
with sticks and physical exercises, that verses should 
be sung and leaflets distributed in the streets of Poona, 
the capital of the Deccan and the second city in the 
Bombay Presidency. These were to stimulate hatred 
of Muhammadans and of the British Government, of 
foreigners generally. 

A movement, too, was inaugurated for the repair of 
the tomb of the famous Maratha Hindu hero, Sivaji, who, 
more than two centuries before, had successfully revolted 
against Muhammadan domination. Sivaji had killed 
Afzal Khan, a Muslim general, at a conference between 
two armies. Festivals were held in his honour, and 
the memory of his exploits was revived by enthusiasts 
in such verses as these : 


" Merely reciting Sivaji's story like a lord does not 
secure independence ; it is necessary to be prompt in 
engaging in desperate enterprises like Sivaji and Baji ; 
knowing, you good people should take up swords and 
shields at all events now ; we shall cut oft' countless 
heads of enemies. Listen ! We shall risk our lives on 
the battle-field in a national war ; we shall shed upon 
the earth the life-blood of the enemies who destroy our 
religion ; we shall die only, while you will hear the 
story like women." 

Sivaji had established a Maratha kingdom, but his 
dynasty had been supplanted by a dynasty of Chit- 
pavan Brahmans (Brahmans purified by the funeral 
pyre) who had reigned at Poona with the title of 
Peishwa. The last Peishwa had quarrelled with and 
had been overthrown by the British. Chitpavans had 
prospered under British rule. They had shown remark- 
able ability, and were prominent at the Bar, in educa- 
tion, and in the public services ; but some had never 
ceased to regret the fallen glories of the Peishwas. 
Ranade's Rise of the Maratha Empire recalled the his- 
tory of the Maratha country in which their ancestors 
had played a prominent part. In a book entitled 
Sources of Marathi History, it was confidently alleged 
that the state of the Deccan under the Chitpavan Peish- 
was was far superior to its condition under British rule. 

In the year 1880, a Chitpavan Brahman named Bal 
Gangadhar Tilak, who had, a few years before, gradu- 
ated with honours in the Bombay University, started 
two papers, one of which was destined to attain a very 
wide circulation. This was the Kesari (the " Lion "). 
It was in Marathi, and was supplemented by an English 
weekly The Maratha. Later, Mr. Tilak distinguished 
himself in educational work, joined the Congress, and 
became secretary of the Standing Committee for the 


Deccan. He was a vigorous critic of government mea- 
sures, and strongly opposed the Age of Consent Bill, 
which had been devised in order to mitigate the crying 
evils of Hindu child-marriage. His political attitude, 
his learning in the Hindu scriptures, his ability as a 
journalist, his readiness to assist his poorer countrymen 
in trouble, all contributed to win for him remarkable 

Famine had resulted from shortage of rain in 1896, 
and the plague had arrived at Bombay and spread to 
Poona. Famine and plague caused widespread distress ; 
and, according to invariable custom in times of calamity, 
the masses were inclined to blame their rulers. In order 
to arrest the spread of plague, the Bombay Government 
adopted measures which seemed to promise success, but 
were repugnant to the customs of the people and inter- 
fered with their home-life. Persons suffering from the 
disease were separated from persons not attacked ; 
house-to-house visitations were resorted to ; and in 
Poona it was for some time considered necessary to 
employ British soldiers on search parties. Popular 
feeling was keenly stirred, and on * May 4th, 1897, 
Mr. Tilak, who had at first to some extent co-operated 
with Mr. Rand, the Plague Commissioner, published an 
article charging the British soldiers employed on plague 
duty with every sort of excess, and imputing not merely 
to subordinate officials, but to the whole Government 
itself deliberate direction to oppress the people. He 
described Mr. Rand as tyrannical, and stated that the 
Government was practising oppression. It was useless 
to petition the Supreme Government, as from it the 
orders for oppression had emanated. On the 15th of 

1 The statements in this and the following pages are founded on the 
judge's charge to the jury in the case Queen-Empress versus B. G. Tilak, 


the following month he published two further articles 
in his paper. The first was a poem " Sivaji's Utter- 
ances " and represented Sivaji waking from a long 
dream and deploring the present-day state of affairs 
in what had once been his kingdom. By annihilating 
the wicked he had lightened the great weight of the 
globe. He had delivered the country by establishing 
Swarajya (one's own kingdom). Now foreigners were 
taking away the wealth of the country ; plenty and 
health had fled ; famine and epidemic disease stalked 
through the land. Brahmans were imprisoned. The 
cow was daily slaughtered. White men escaped justice 
by urging meaningless pleas. Women were dragged 
out of railway carriages. Sivaji had protected the 
English when they were traders, and it was for them to 
show their gratitude by making his subjects happy. 

The second article gave an account of lectures deli- 
vered by two professors on the murder of Afzal Khan 
by Sivaji. They argued that Sivaji was above the 
moral code. " Every Hindu, every Maratha," said 
one of the lecturers, " must rejoice at this Sivaji cele- 
bration. We are all striving to regain our lost inde- 
pendence." The other professor observed : ' The 
people who took part in the French Revolution denied 
\hat they had committed murders, and maintained that 
they were only removing thorns from their path. Why 
N should not the same principle (argument) be applied to 
Maharashtra ? ' Finally came a discourse from Mr. 
Tilak, who said, after remarking that great men are 
above the common principles of morality, " Did Sivaji 
commit a sin in killing Afzal Khan or not ? ' The 
answer to this question can be found in the Mahabharat l 

1 The Mahabharat is the famous Hindu epic. It contains the Bhagwat- 
Oita, or Lord's Song, recited by Krishna, an incarnation of the Preserver 
of the world, before the great battle of Kurukshetra. 


itself. Shrimat Krishna's advice in the gita is to kill 
even our own teachers and our kinsmen. No blame 
attaches to any person if he is doing deeds without 
being actuated by a desire to reap the fruits of his 
deeds. Shri Sivaji did nothing with a view to fill the 
small void of his own stomach. With benevolent in- 
tentions he murdered Afzal Khan for the good of others. 
If thieves enter our house and we have not sufficient 
strength to drive them out, we should, without hesita- 
tion, shut them up and burn them alive. God has not 
conferred on Mlenchas (foreigners or barbarians) the 
grant inscribed on copper-plate of the kingdom of 

" Do not circumscribe your vision like a frog in a 
well. Get out of the Penal Code, enter into the ex- 
tremely high atmosphere of the Bhagivat-Gita , and then 
consider the actions of great men." 

A week after these articles appeared, and on thej 
day of the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen 
Victoria, Mr. Rand and another British officer were 
assassinated at Poona by two Chitpavan Brahman 
brothers, Damodar and Balkrishna Chapekar, who were 
subsequently tried and executed. The former said in 
a confession, subsequently retracted, but believed by 
the court that tried him to be genuine, that " as the 
operations for the suppression of the plague were begin- 
ning to cause annoyance to the people and great oppres- 
sion was caused by the soldiers, they had determined 
to avenge these acts and to kill the chief man in charge 
of the plague operations." The Chapekars had founded 
an association for physical and military training which 
they called the " Society for the removal of obstacles 
to the Hindu religion." Two of the associates mur- 
dered two brothers who had been rewarded by Govern- 


ment for information which led to the arrest and con- 
viction of Damodar Chapekar. They were themselves 
arrested, convicted, and executed. 

Mr. Tilak was prosecuted for exciting disaffection to 
Government by means of the Kesari articles of June 
15th, was convicted, and was sentenced to eighteen 
months' rigorous imprisonment, but six months of his 
sentence were subsequently remitted. For a space he 
disappeared from the ranks of the Congress politicians ; 
but the Kesari continued to issue during his imprison- 
ment, and on his release.attained a very.wide circulation. 
Its financial success attracted keen emulation. Its 
tone was caught by journalists in other provinces. 

The criticisms of the Congress probably counted both 
in the appointment of a Commission which was to 
advise police reforms, and in the improvements in the 
revenue system initiated and carried through by Lord 
Curzon. On the other hand, although the Plague 
afforded the leaders of the movement an unique oppor- 
tunity of standing forward and assisting Government 
to counteract the prejudiced hostility of their more 
ignorant countrymen to remediary measures, they took 
small advantage of this opportunity. ? And throughout 
the whole of this period the tone of the majority of 
Indian- owned newspapers became more and more 
hostile to the form of British rule established by law. 
f\yfth monotonous regularity their readers were regaled 
with diatribes against the constitution and policy of 
the British Government. India was being drained of 
her resources ; India was being plundered and oppressed 
by aliens. This was the constant burden of a con- 
stantly repeated song, varied now and then, when the 
occasion demanded caution, by conventional phrases 
about the blessings of British rule. Grave stress was 
laid on the unfortunate fact that in 1894 the Govern- 


ment of India had been compelled by the Secretary of 
State to reduce the duty on Lancashire woven cotton 
goods from 5 to 3 J per cent. , and to impose a counter- 
vailing excise duty of 3J per cent, on woven cotton 
fabrics manufactured in Indian mills. And over and 
over again were the doctrines preached that the pea- 
santry l were crushed by the land revenue demand, 
and that the country was , exploited by foreign capital. 
L-ska&fefeg mjorg fully >to- the lattei -accusation later TUT. 

The death of Queen Victoria profoundly affected 
public sentiment, for her messages to India on great 
occasions had taught Indians to regard her as their own 
Sovereign. At the time of the 1903 Durbar, which 
celebrated the accession o f King Edward, the political 
barometer seemed steady 

The ceremonies were splendid ; the speech of the 
Viceroy, Lord Curzon, disclosed no presentiment of the 
difficulties and trials which were to come with an early 
morrow, j 

" Princes and people," he said, " if we turn our 
eyes for a moment to the future, a great development 
appears with little doubt to lie before this country. 
There is no Indian problem, be it of population, or 
education, or labour, or subsistence, which it is not 
within the power^of statesmanship to solve. The solu- 
tion of many is even, now proceeding before our eyes. 
If the combined Armies of Great Britain and India 
can secure combined peace upon our borders ; if unity 
prevails within them, between princes and people, be- 
tween European and Indian, and between rulers and 
ruled, and if the seasons fail not in their bounty, then 
nothing can arrest the march of progress, the India of 
the future will, under Providence, not be an India 
of diminishing plenty, of empty prospect, or of justifi- 
able discontent ; but one of expanding industry, of 

1 The end of the last century was marked by bad agricultural seasons 
and the rapid spread of plague with disastrous economic consequences. 


awakened faculties, of increasing prosperity, and of more 
widely distributed comfort and wealth. I have faith 
in the conscience and the purpose of my own country, 
and I believe in the almost illimitable capacities of this. 
But under no conditions can this future be realised 
than the unchallenged supremacy of the paramount 
power, and under no controlling authority is this cap- 
able of being maintained than that of the British 

Yet, in fact, this Durbar marked the end of the com- 
paratively restful and untroubled era which had lasted 
for forty years. It was an era of successful and unchal- 
lenged government, of increasing and widening educa- 
tion, of growing commerce, of an r improving land 
revenue system, of all-round progress. lYet, among the 
still scanty Western educated classes, oliscontent slum- 
bered lightly under a surface that was usually smooth. 
Peculiar economic conditions were producing an in- 
creasing number of youths for whom life seemed hard 
and difficult, in spite of English education ; the ideas 
and customs of ages had been shaken ; political gather- 
ings were beginning to surpass fairs and caste-meetings 
in social interest. There was a desire for change, an 
impatience of the present, a growing doctrine that the 
old times were better than the new. In one part of 
India this doctrine had been openly preached ; and 
there and elsewhere advantage was taken of famines, of 
plague, of poverty, of lack of occupation, of the chequered 
incidents of the Boer War, to depreciate British effi- 
ciency and British rule. Already, in Bombay, the 
circulation of such ideas had received a special stimulus 
from peculiar circumstances, and murder had resulted. 
Coming years were to prove that if an edge could be 
given to such latent discontent, the Poona incidents 
would not stand alone. But the ruling princes, the 


territorial and rural classes, the military castes, the 
masses, were tranquil and unchanged ; the outside of 
affairs was calm ; and Lord Curzon proceeded with 
characteristic determination and enthusiasm to grapple 
with the great problem of Indian education. 

The results of the orders passed on the reports of 
the Indian Education and Public Services Commis- 
sions appointed by Lords Ripon and Dufferin had 
been in some measure disastrous to secondary educa- 
tion, especially in Bengal, where an excessive devolu- 
tion of control to non-official agency had resulted in a 
serious lowering of standards. The Calcutta Univer- 
sity Syndicate, which presided over English education 
in that province, and regulated the standards of the 
examinations which lay before the thronging candidates 
for Government service, had exercised little control over 
secondary schools, leaving them largely to local com- 
mittees. These committees consisted mainly of men 
of small ideas, who thought only of providing sufficient 
teaching to meet examination requirements. Moral 
influences and training of character they comparatively 
disregarded ; and, cutting down the cost of buildings, 
and salaries of schoolmasters, to the lowest possible 
levels, they provided the cheapest instruction that they 
could contrive. 1 Vainly did the Government empha- 

1 The following passages from a speech by the Hindu head master of a 
high school in a prominent city of the United Provinces show clearly the 
pitfalls which beset popular education in India : 

" This school owes its expansion more to the Government and the 
Government officials than to the general public, unless fees are regarded 
as a public contribution. 

" I make these remarks not because we fail to acknowledge the help 
received from the public, but to emphasise the fact that the cause of the 
education of our nation's children occupies only a secondary place in 
the minds of the rich men and other people. We have yet to realise 
the full responsibility of educating our children. Many parents seem to 
feel absolved from all responsibility after sending their children to school, 


sise its view that it was " of little use to spend money 
on schools where the teachers were either inefficient or 
unable to maintain discipline or a healthy moral tone." 
No serious attempt was made to alter things, and 
grave abuses became -increasingly apparent throughout 
the whole Indian school and university system. Lord 
Curzon determined to insist on thorough reforms. He 
threw all his energies into the task, appealing earnestly 
for non-official co-operation, and emphasising the im- 
portance of the interests at stake. The education 
which is the necessary preliminary to all professional 
and industrial work was obviously a great national 

without inquiring whether the school concerned is a recognised institu- 
tion or not. In this place there have sprung up a number of schools 
from which the sanctity that should be attached to an educational insti- 
tution is entirely absent, and of which money-making seems to be the 
primary aim. The gullible parents are ready to pay exorbitant fees, and 
those also in advance for many months, when they are promised that 
their boys would be put up three or four classes above the one for which 
they were really fit. It must be acknowledged that this state of affairs 
calls for the necessity of opening more schools of an approved type. But 
I have to complain even against the parent whose sons read in a recog- 
nised school, for he, too, is alive to his responsibility only when a seat 
has to be secured for them not an easy endeavour in these days or 
perhaps when they fail to obtain promotion. Only lately I had an occa- 
sion to address a circular letter to the guardians of such students as failed 
in two subjects at the first periodical examination, with a view to con- 
ferring with them regarding the progress of their wards, but not more 
than two per cent, cared to respond. 

" When such is the apathy of the parents, the indifference at home 
must be great indeed. Far be it from me to attribute want of affection 
to the parents for their children, but this affection is more in evidence 
when you see the little one at school patronising the sweetmeat vendor 
than in properly regulating their life at home. The teacher hopes that 
his work would be supplemented with adequate supervision at home, 
but the parents expect that a few hours at school should make their 
sons paragons of all virtues. To my mind one of the problems of educa- 
tion in India is to make the home of the child in proper unison with his 
school. If this were done, many social, educational, and, I dare say, 
even political difficulties could be solved, and our boys would not be 
exposed to dangers, as unfortunately they are now." 


concern ; it was " the key to employment, the con- 
dition of all national advance and prosperity, and the 
sole stepping-stone for every class of the community to 
higher things/ 5 It was a social and political, even more 
than an intellectual demand. 

The Congress leaders, however, mainly because they 
suspected that Lord Curzon's secret intention was to 
check the growing numbers of the restless English- 
educated classes, strenuously opposed the Viceroy, and 
succeeded in impressing their ideas on the minds of 
many persons incapable of appreciating the realities of 
the situation. In spite of their opposition, Lord 
Curzon passed a Universities Act of considerable im- 
portance ; but he left India suddenly, his work came 
to an abrupt termination, and drastic improvement 
in secondary education has hung fire in Bengal from that 
day to this. The Viceroy's efforts had, however, pro- 
duced restlessness and resentment among the literate 
classes, and these feelings were widened and deepened 
by the Partition agitation. 

No one has ever seriously denied that the old province 
of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa was, by reason of its magni- 
tude, an impossible and, because impossible, a sadly 
neglected charge. 

^Phe Supreme Government had been slow to realise 
that times had altered since 1785, when Warren Hast- 
ings, reviewing his eventful administration, wrote that 
the submissive character of the people of this province, 
the fewness of their wants, " the abundant sources of 
subsistence and of trafncable wealth which may be 
drawn from the natural productions, and from the 
manufactures, both of established usage and of new 
institutions, left little to the duty of the magistrate ; in 
effect nothing but attention, protection, and forbear- 
ance/' No soldiers of the Indian Army had been drawn 


from Bengal, and Bengalis had taken no share in the 
rebellion of 1857. But as prosperity and population 
increased, as English education spread, administration 
became more complex, and the character of the edu- 
cated classes stiffened and altered. The charge of 
78,000,000 of people, including the inhabitants of the 
largest and most Europeanised city in the East, was 
far too onerous for one provincial administration ; and, 
after considerable deliberation and consultation, Lord 
Curzon decided to divide the old province and Assam 
into the new provinces of Western Bengal, Bihar and 
Orissa, and Eastern Bengal and Assam. 

Administratively, this was the best arrangement. It 
afforded most promise of opening up and developing 
the rich, difficult, and populous water districts of 
Eastern Bengal. But it split Bengal proper into two, 
and gave Muhammadans a decided majority in the 
Eastern Province. It was, therefore, strongly opposed 
by the Congress leaders at Calcutta, the centre of 
Hindu legal, educational, and political activities. They 
proclaimed that a foreign government wished to insult 
and efface Bengali nationality. When the partition 
was carried out, they enlisted ardent support from 
sympathisers all over India, proclaimed a boycott of 
European goods, to be effected by the aid of students 
and schoolboys, and organised a violent agitation on a 
widespread and elaborate scale. Many of them were 

moved by a new kind of sentiment. The achievements 

of Japan had profoundly affected Indian political 

thougat. Their plans took time to develop, and were 
largely suspended during the visit of the Prince and 
Princess of Wales, which passed off successfully in 
the cold season of 1905-6. Before the Congress of 
1905 met at Benares, Lord Curzon had left India, and 
the Unionist Ministry in England had been followed 


by the representatives of a mammoth Liberal majority. 
Lord Minto had succeeded to the Viceroy alty, and Mr. 
John Morley had been appointed Secretary of State for 

The events which closed the administration of the 
departing Viceroy were destined to influence profoundly 
the subsequent course of affairs. No viceroy has ever 
played a part larger than the part played by Lord 
Curzon. His influence on all branches of administra- 
tion was vigorous and beneficial ; he placed the arrange- 
ments for the security of the North- West frontier on 
a stable footing ; he set an example of industry and 
devotion which was finely expressed in his memorable 
parting words. 1 

But we can see now that his bold and confident 
nature led him to underrate the combination between 
the opposition to the Partition of Bengal and the new 
spirit which had arisen in India. The loosening of 
control which was certain to follow on his departure ; 
the number and bitterness of his enemies ; their eager- 
ness and the anxiety of those who resented British rule 
to seize any opportunity of misinterpreting all govern- 
ment measures ; the plastic material which lay ready 

1 " Oh that to every Englishman in this country, as he ends his work, 
might truthfully be applied the phrase : ' Thou hast loved righteousness 
and hated iniquity.' No man has, I believe, ever served India faith- 
fully of whom that could not be said. Perhaps there are few of us who 
make anything but a poor approximation to that ideal; but let it be 
our ideal all the same. To fight for the right, to abhor the imperfect, 
the unjust, to swerve neither to the right hand nor to the left. . . . Never 
to let your enthusiasm be soured, or your courage grow dim, but to re- 
member that the Almighty has placed His hand on the greatest of His 
ploughs in whose furrow the nations of the future are germinating and 
taking shape, to drive the blade a little forward in your time that is 
enough, that is the Englishman's justification in India. It is good 
enough for his justification while he is here, for his epitaph when he 
is gone." 


to their hands ; all these were factors of so far undis- 
covered potency. But, when accounts are balanced, 
posterity will say, with Lord Morley : 

' You never will send to India a Viceroy his superior, 
if, indeed, his equal, in force of mind, in passionate and 
devoted interest in all that concerns the well-being of 
India, with an imagination fired by the grandeur of the 
political problem that India presents. You never sent 
a man with more of all these attributes than when you 
sent Lord Curzon." 



[THE Twenty-first Congress, held at Benares in Decem- 
ber 1905, was attended by 756 delegates, of whom 
718 were Hindus, 17 were Muhammadans, and 14 were 
Sikhs. The tone of the introductory note to the printed 
record of proceedings is notably aggressive. India 
was declared to be " distracted, discontented, despon- 
dent, the victim of many misfortunes, political and 
others " ; the " cup of national indignation had been 
filled to overflowing by the Partition designed to break 
down the political power and influence of the educated 
opinion of Bengal.") The rise of Japan had, however, 
it was said, produced a great moral impression, and a 
new epoch had begun in the work of political regenera- 
tion and emancipation not only for Bengal, but for all 
India. The service of the motherland would become 
" as great and overmastering a passion as in Japan." 

(The late Mr. Gokhale, a Chitpavan l Brahman of 
great intellectual power, was elected President. He 
justified the boycott of European goods which had 
been proclaimed by the leaders of the anti-Partition 
agitation in Bengal, and declared that the time was 
sensibly nearer when the bureaucratic monopoly of 
power could be successfully assailed.) He asked for a 
proportion of one-half elected members in all the Coun- 
cils, for an extension of Council privileges, and for the 

1 Chitpavan Brahmans. (See page 48.) 


appointment of three Indians to the Council of the 
Secretary of State. He considered that the time was-> 
auspicious for these demands. Mr. John Morley was at 
the India Office, and " our heart hopes and yettremble 
as it has never yet hoped and trembled before/' 

Bitter complaint was made of the treatment of Indians 
in the British colonies a grievance of some standing 
even then and of the recent educational policy of Lord 
Curzon's Government. The " pluck and heroism " of 
the young Bengali anti-Partitionists were commended. 
They were termed " pillars of the popular movement." 
Reference was made to the rising sun of Japan. 

In the new province of Eastern Bengal things grew 
worse during 1906. As purely sentimental appeals 
were ineffectual to excite sufficient popular sympathy, 
the leaders of the anti-Partition movement, searching 
for a national hero, endeavoured to import from Bom- 
bay the cult of Sivaji, and appealed to the religion of 
the multitude by placing their efforts under the patron- 
age of Kali, the goddess of strength and destruction. 
Another device to which they resorted was borrowed 
from Europe. Years before a Bengali named Bankim 
Chandra had written a novel 1 based on incursions by 
some bands of Sanyasis,* fanatical Hindu banditti, who 
in the year 1772, after a severe famine, had descended 
on Bengal, their ranks swollen by a crowd of starving 
peasants, and had obtained temporary successes against 
some Government levies under British officers. The 
novel contained a song which was adopted as a Mar- 
seillaise by the anti-Partitionists, and has since become 
famous as " Bande Mataram " Hail, Motherland ! 
Its sentiment is expressed in the following lines : 

1 The Ananda Math. See Appendix II. 

2 Sanyasi means renouncer, i.e. renouncer of the world and even of 
caste. The ordinary Sanyasi is simply an ascetic. 


' We have no mother/' sings the leader of the Sanyasis. 

' We have no father, no brother, no wife, no child, 

no hearth, no home. We acknowledge nothing 

save the motherland. 
My Motherland I sing ; Thou art my head, 

Thou art my heart. 
My life and soul art Thou, my soul, my worship, and 

my art. 
Before Thy feet I bow." 

From the context in the novel it seems that the 
Sanyasi's appeal was rather to his mother's land, the 
land of Mother Kali, than to his motherland. 

" Bande Mataram " and other effusions of a more 
militant character were eagerly taken up by the masses 
of Hindu youths who thronged the numerous schools 
and colleges in Bengal under needy discontented 
teachers. Indeed it was to enlist these facile recruits 
that the Calcutta leaders addressed their main efforts. 
" Swadeshi/' or indigenous, industrial enterprises were 
hastily started ; a boycott of foreign goods was pro- 
claimed as the best and most effective weapon of retalia- 
tion for the Partition, and arrangements were made to 
carry out this boycott by persuasion, forcible if neces- 
sary, through the agency of schoolboys and students. 
The whole agitation was Hindu, and was strongly re- 
sented by the Muhammadans, who form the majority in 
Eastern Bengal, and had derived substantial and obvious 
advantages from the new arrangements. But the 
latter controlled no newspapers of importance, and had 
few orators to voice their wishes. Their leaders were 
few, their press was insignificant, and they lacked 
the previous stimulus which had prepared the Hindu 
youth of educated Bengal for a passionate agita- 

In 1902 had died the Bengali enthusiast, Swami 


Vivekananda, whose words inculcating nationalism and 
religion had sunk deep into the minds of many of the 
educated classes, and not long ago might be seen printed 
as texts on the walls of the rooms of students in Bengal. 
His real name was Norendro Nath Datta, and he had 
graduated in the Calcutta University, but, subse- 
quently, became an ascetic. He had visited the Chicago 
Congress of religions as a missionary of Hinduism. 
Returning, he preached and lectured in various parts 
of India, acquiring a number of eager followers. The 
nature of his teaching may best be illustrated by 
quotations from a lecture on " The Work before us," 
delivered in Madras : 

' With all my love for India, and with all my patri- 
otism and veneration for the ancients, I cannot but 
think that we have to learn many things from the 
world. We must be always ready to sit at the feet of 
all to learn great lessons ; for, mark you, every one can 
teach us great lessons. ... At the same time we must 
not forget that we have also to teach a great lesson to 
the world. We cannot do without the world outside 
India ; it was our foolishness that we thought we could, 
and we have paid the penalty by about a thousand 
years of slavery. That we did not go out to compare 
things with other nations, did not mark the workings 
that have been all around us, has been the one great 
cause of this degradation of the Indian mind. All 
such foolish ideas that Indians must not go out of 
India are childish ; they must be knocked on the head ; 
the more you go out and travel among the nations of 
the world, the better for you and for your country. If 
you had done that for hundreds of years past, you 
would not be here to-day at the feet of every country 
that wants to rule India. The first manifest effect of 
life is expansion. You must expand if you want to 
live. The moment you have ceased to expand, death 
is upon you, danger is ahead. I went to America and 


Europe, to which you so kindly allude ; I had to go 
because that is the first sign of the revival of national 
life expansion. . . . Those of you who think that the 
Hindus have been always confined within the four walls 
of their country through all ages are entirely mistaken ; 
they have not studied the whole books ; they have 
not studied the history of the race aright. ... I am 
an imaginative man, and my idea is the conquest of the 
whole world by the Hindu race. There have been 
great conquering races in the world. We also have 
been great conquerors. The story of our conquest has 
been described by the great Emperor of India, Asoka, 
as the conquest of religion and spirituality. Once 
more the world must be conquered by India. . . . Let 
foreigners come and flood the land with their armies, 
never mind. Up, India, and conquer the world with 
your spirituality ! Aye, as has been declared on this 
soil, first love must conquer hatred ; hatred cannot 
conquer itself. Materialism and all its miseries can 
never be conquered by materialism. Armies, when they 
attempt to conquer armies, only multiply and make 
brutes of humanity. Spirituality must conquer the 
West. Slowly they are finding it out that what they 
want is spirituality to preserve them as nations." 

Force and bitterness were added to ideas inspired 
by such teaching, when it was possible to represent an 
administrative measure as designed to thwart national 
expansion, when numbers of publications were alleg- 
ing that the British were cunning oppressors. 

As in Bengal the Hindu political leaders wanted the 
boycott, while the Muhammadans did not, relations 
between the two communities rapidly deteriorated, 
and attempts to enforce disuse or destruction of Euro- 
pean goods led to blows and riots. Hindu agitation 
steadily intensified in bitterness. The first Lieutenant- 
Governor of the new eastern province, Sir Bamfylde 
Fuller, endeavoured to stem the current, but was not 


supported by the Supreme Government in certain action 
which he considered essential, and resigned office. His 
resignation increased an impression, already current, 
that the Government feared to use effective pre- 
ventives. The Indian army then took no recruits from 
Bengal, and the villages contain no sobering element 
of pensioned soldiers who are acquainted with the 
realities of British power. Few of the village people 
outside Calcutta had seen British troops, and some in 
the remote water-logged under-administered districts 
of the eastern province were encouraged by the lawless- 
ness of the agitators and the forbearance of Govern- 
ment to believe that the days of British rule were 
drawing to an end. Boycott and picketing frequently 
ended in disturbances in which schoolboys and teachers 
were prominent. 

The Congress of 1906! again justified the boycott, 
and requested annulment of the Partition. It also 
formulated a new demand which was intended to, and 
did, unite for a time those Indian politicians who 
aspired to a far larger share in the Government and 
other more violent spirits who were beginning to visualise 
an end of British rule. The demand was that the 
system of government obtaining in the self-governing 
British colonies should be extended to India. As pre- 
liminaries, such reforms as simultaneous examinations 
for the Civil Service and considerably enlarged Legis- 
lative Councils should be immediately instituted. In 
the presidential address of Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, after 
an appeal to the Muhammadans for co-operation, 
occurred the following words : " Once self-government 
is attained, there will be prosperity enough for all, but 
not till then." He thought that union therefore of all 
the people for their emancipation was an absolute neces- 


" Agitation," he considered, " is the life and soul of 
the whole political, social, and industrial history of 
England. The life of England is all agitation. . . . 
Agitation is the civilised peaceful weapon of moral force, 
and infinitely preferable to brute physical force, when 
possible. Agitate, agitate over the whole length and 
breadth of India, peacefully of course, if we mean really_ 
to get justice from John Bull. Satisfy him that we 
are in earnest. The Bengalis, I am glad, have learnt 
the lesson and led the march. . . . Agitate means in- 
form. Inform the Indian people what their rights are, 
and why and how they should obtain them." 

Mr. Naoroji ignored the important fact that agitation 
in homogeneous England does not mean the exacerbation 
of colour- feeling, of racial jealousy and hatred. In India 
it is generally carried on by methods which mean this. 

As a matter of fact, however, those leaders of the 
Congress movement who had not become intoxicated 
with excitement and racial animosity, had before this 
meeting begun to see that things were going too far. It 
is probable too that some at least were becoming aware 
that behind all the whirlwind of passion in Bengal, 
behind the schools and colleges which were developing 
into seed-beds of sedition, behind the pamphlets and 
newspapers which were disseminating hatred and bitter- 
ness far and wide, the ground was being prepared for 
even more serious doings by fanatics inflamed with 
the purpose of gradually organising a bloody revolt.; 
This the Government was slow to realise. The move^ 
ment was persistently misunderstood by its friends 
in England. It had not touched the fighting races 
or the fighting castes, and the main grievance was 
sentimental. Few anticipated that it would lead to 
actual bloodshed. 1 Fewer dreamt that it would bring 

1 A loyal Bengali gentleman once told the author that he was so 
amazed by the first outrages that he refused to credit them. 


forth an unending series of violent crimes, or that, in 
a country where sons closely adhere to the occupations 
of their fathers, the sons of clerks, lawyers, and school- 
masters would, under the influence of racial sentiment 
and vague idealism, abjure the ambitions of their class 
and drill with daggers and pistols ; and indeed it is 
certain that had more of these young men and boys ever 
known firm discipline and intelligent supervision, in and 
out of study hours, they would not have fallen so easy 
a prey to the plots of unscrupulous revolutionaries. 

The mixture of ideas which appealed to such victims 
is illustrated by a confession which the author has read. 
It stated that the promptings to which the young 
revolutionary had succumbed were derived from his- 
tories of India and the rise of other nations, newspaper 
tales of ill-treatment of Indians by Europeans, stories 
of secret societies in magazines like the Strand, " ac- 
counts of the present better condition of other coun- 
tries/' He had later begun to doubt the veracity of 
these accounts. Finally, he joined because the boycott 
agitation afforded a " grand opportunity." 

But although the reasonable members of the Con- 
gress of 1906, who had acquired the title of " Moder- 
ates/' wished to call a halt, they did not as yet separate 
from their more intemperate and thorough-going col- 
leagues who, pushing recklessly on, were becoming 
known as Extremists. In March 1907 the Viceroy 
(Lord Minto) publicly announced that he had sent 
home a despatch to the Secretary of State proposing 
administrative reforms on a liberal basis. About the 
same time serious disturbances occurred in the Punjab. 
In that province 1 Arya Samajists are numerous, and the 
large cities contain many Bengali immigrants. Disturb- 
ances took place ; attempts were made to tamper with 

1 See page 27. 


Sikh and Jat regiments, and two leading Arya Samajists 
were deported. In the two Bengals things were grow- 
ing worse. The provinces at large were peaceful, but 
Revolutionaries were increasing and were preparing to 
improve on Extremist doctrines. Societies composed 
mainly of youths belonging to respectable and educated 
families were studying the use of pistols and explosives. 
Publications were industriously circulated which, as 
there is conclusive evidence to show, enormously ex- 
cited Hindu opinion. The most famous of these was 
the Yugantar (New Era) newspaper, which from 1906 
to July 1907, when its first editor went to prison, poured 
forth passages exhibiting, as a judge afterwards said, 
" a burning hatred of the British race." This paper 
was not finally suppressed till 1908. The mischief 
caused by it and its kind is incalculable. 

In December the Congress met at Surat. Nagpur 
in the Central Provinces, midway between Bengal and 
Bombay, had been selected as the meeting-place, but 
arrangements were altered, as the reception committee 
was broken up by a gang of Extremists. The pen was 
seized from the hands of the chairman, and the Moder- 
ates were pushed out of a hall and assailed with stones 
and mud. At Surat again the Extremists tried to 
impose their will by force on those who differed from 
them, and the Congress ended in riotous scenes. The 
chief Moderates on this memorable occasion were Mr. 
Gokhale and Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjee. The Ex- 
tremist leaders were Mr. Tilak and Mr. Arabindo Ghose. 
Bombay and Bengal led on each side. The Extremists 
were either " academic " or " physical force," argu- 
mentative or practical. The latter identified them- 
selves with the revolutionary societies which were form- 
ing in Bengal and Bombay, and in the former Presidency 
had already committed several outrages. 


On May 3rd, 1908, two English ladies were 
assassinated at Muzaffarpur in Bihar by a Bengali 
bomb-thrower, who intended his missile for a British 
magistrate ; and after this horrible event the arrest of a 
number of young men in a garden in Maniktollah, a 
suburb of Calcutta, and their subsequent trial ended in 
the conviction of nineteen out of thirty-six accused, and 
in the disclosure of an elaborate conspiracy for secur- 
ing the liberation of India through the " easily aroused 
and misdirected ardour of youth/' It was proved that 
the convicts had, for over two years, launched on the 
public a highly inflammatory propaganda ; they had 
collected arms and ammunition ; they had studied 
bombs. The following words of the Sessions Judge 
show how the licence of the Press had assisted their 
purpose : 

' There can be no doubt that the majority of the 
witnesses . . . are in sympathy with the accused. I 
do not say with their motives, but with their objects ; 
and it is only natural that they should be. Their 
natural desire for independence was not likely to be 
weakened by the constant vilification in season and out 
of season of Government measures, not only by the 
Yellow Press, but by papers which claim to be respect- 

The Maniktollah conspirators were for the most part 
men of good education. Their leader, Barindra, was 
born in England. His faith was apparently this. He 
considered that Hindu manhood was stunted, and 
Hindu religion and mysticism were losing vitality under 
foreign rule. To strive without scruple or intermis- 
sion for the expulsion of the foreigners was therefore a 
duty which sanctified any means whereby the object 
might be achieved. It could be achieved eventually 


by sedulous diffusion of revolutionary propaganda, 1 by 
winning over the Indian troops, by sapping the con- 
fidence of the people in their foreign rulers, and by a 
widespread concentration of determined effort. The 
struggle might be long, but was worth undertaking. 

Such were the original leaders and organisers of the 
Bengal revolutionary movement ; but many of their 
followers were more ordinary men, and some were 
students and schoolboys, whose initiation had come 
through the picketing which accompanied the boycott 
movement. Aided by inflammatory newspapers, the 
conspirators enormously impressed the youth of Bengal 
and some sections of the people of Calcutta. The cruel 
and inhuman nature of successive crimes was ignored 
in admiration for criminals who had shown that Ben- 
galis could follow plots into action, could risk their lives 
for a cause. A single instance of this perverted hero- 
worship may be quoted. One of the conspirators, a 
graduate of the Dupleix College, Chandernagore, named 
Kanai Lai Datt, was executed for the murder of an 
associate who had turned informer. His body was 
handed over to his relatives and was cremated. The 
obsequies were accompanied by such fervid and sen- 
sational scenes that not long afterwards a Bengali youth 
falsely confessed to the murder of a police sub-inspector 
because he desired to have a funeral like Kanai's. 

While in Bengal the Maniktollah conspirators were 
being brought to account, in Bombay Mr. Tilak pub- 
lished articles in the Kesari to the effect that the 
Muzaffarpur murders were the result of oppression and 
of the refusal of swaraj (self-government). The lan- 
guage and spirit of these articles resulted in his prose- 
cution for attempting to bring the British Government 

1 The literature of the movement is fully described in the published 
report of the Sedition Committee, 


into hatred and contempt, and for endeavouring to 
provoke enmity and hatred between different classes 
of His Majesty's subjects. He was convicted and 
sentenced to six years' imprisonment. 1 His admirers 
instigated rioting for several days in Bombay, and at- 
tempted to hold a separate congress in Nagpur, but 
were prohibited from doing so by the Central Provinces 
Government. They showed their displeasure by assault- 
ing solitary Europeans, and breaking the windows of a 
nourishing Indian factory because the factory hands 
would not join their disorderly demonstrations. 

The newspaper, India, the organ of the British 
committee of the Congress, thus commented on the 
split of 1907 : 

" If the young men are throwing in their lot with 
Mr. Tilak, and have ceased to believe in the promises 
of Englishmen, Englishmen have only themselves to 
thank for it. When Mr. Morley came into office two 
years ago, he had the ball at his feet. The party of 
Extremists existed, it is true, but it had neither num- 
bers nor influence. A policy of concession and con- 
ciliation was needed to disarm them. It was deliberately 

These words, however, do not truly describe the 
situation. Lord Morley's policy was a policy of con- 
cession and conciliation. Eeforms had been incubat- 
ing for some time, and the attitude of the Indian and 
Home Governments toward the Partition agitation and 
its accompaniments had been remarkably forbearing 
under exceptional provocation. It is possible that pre- 
ventive and remedial measures would have been less 
tardy had not the depth and violence of the movement 
been only gradually and imperfectly appreciated by the 

1 See paragraph 8, Chapter I Report of the (Rowlatt) Sedition Com- 


highest authorities. The agitators and their disciples 
belonged to the peaceable castes ; and even persons who 
were well acquainted with Bengal failed to realise the 
strength of three influences : the triumph of Japan over 
"Russia ; the new nationalism and the carefully instilled 
racial hatred, as well as the effect of all these factors 
on the uncritical and altruistic spirit of youth. Such 
currents were favoured by a growing economic pressure 
to which I will later recur. They were driven on by 
calumnies sown broadcast of the most subtle and un- 
scrupulous kind. 

The history of revolutionary conspiracy in Bengal 
and India has recently been investigated by a special 
Committee, whose report will be noticed fully in a later 
chapter. It shows that from 1907 until now political 
crimes, murders, bomb-outrages, robberies, have been 
committed in Bengal, and that secret revolutionary 
societies have attracted an unfailing flow of recruits. 
The poisonous contagion has now and then spread to 
other provinces and gathered force from other currents, 
but has borne most fruit in Bengal. Its genesis and 
progress are detailed in the Sedition Committee's Ke- 

Before proceeding further with the history of Hindu 
political movements, it is necessary to give some ac- 
count of the origin of the Muslim League. 

Sir Saiyid Ahmad had died in 1898, shortly after 
rendering a last valuable service to the British Govern- 
ment. In order to combat pan-Islamic sentiment 
excited by the Greco-Turkish War, he contributed 
articles to the Aligarh Institute Gazette, denying the 
pretensions of Sultan Abdul Hamid to the Khalifat 
(i.e. the temporal and spiritual succession to the Prophet 
Muhammad), 1 and preaching loyalty to the British 

1 See Appendix III. 


rulers of India even if they were " compelled to pursue 
an unfriendly policy toward Turkey." A great leader 
had passed from Muhammadan India and left no suc- 
cessor. Times, too, were changed, and new problems 
had arisen. The Muhammadans had become uneasy 
as to the place which they would occupy in the reforms 
which were under discussion in 1906 ; and on October 
1st of that year their principal leaders, headed by 
His Highness the Agha Khan, presented an address to 
the Viceroy gratefully acknowledging the peace, security, 
and liberty of person and worship conferred by the 
British Government, and emphasising the fact that one 
of the most important characteristics of British rule 
was the deference paid to the views and wishes of all 
races and religions. The object of the deputation was 
to present the claims of 62,000,000 of Muhammadans 
to a fair share in any modified system of representation 
that might be contemplated, the share to be com- 

^ jmensurate with their numbers and 'political importance. 
Representative institutions of the European type were 

X new to Indians, and, in the absence of the greatest 
caution, dangerous to their national interests. The 
deputation deprecated a system of individual enfran- 
chisement, and complained of the monopoly of official 
influence by one class, pointing out that no Muham- 
madan Judge sat in any Supreme Court. Continuing, 
the address urged the need of a Muhammadan univer- 
sity, and insisted on the importance of local boards 
and municipalities as the basis of all local self-govern- 

The Viceroy replied that : 

" although British ideas must prevail, they must not 
carry with them an impracticable insistence on the 
acceptance of political methods. . . . You justly claim 
that your position should be estimated not merely on 


your numerical strength, but in respect of the political 
importance of your community and the service it has 
rendered to the Empire. I am in accordance with 


Thus originated the concession to minorities of com- 
munal representation. The Muslim League then came 
gradually into widespread existence. Meetings were 
held at Dacca in 1906 at the invitation of the late 
Nawab Salim-ullah Khan, who was making a strong 
stand for law and order in Eastern Bengal, and at 
Karachi in 1907 under Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy. The 
resolutions passed related to adequate Muslim repre- 
sentation in the new Councils, to Muslim places in the 
public service, and to Muslim loyalty. In March 1908 
a meeting was held at Aligarh under the presidency of 
the Agha Khan. A branch had been started in London 
under the Honourable Mr. Amir Ali. The principles of 
the promoters of the League were thus expounded in a 
letter addressed by the Agha Khan to a meeting of the 
Deccan branch. He wrote that amid much that was 
good in India, they saw a growing indiscipline and con- 
tempt for authority, a striving after change without 
perceiving whither change would lead, and the setting 
up of false and impracticable constitutional ideas. No 
man who loved his country as the Indian Muslims did 
could stand idly by and see India drifting irrevocably 
to disaster. Prosperity and contentment could only be 
reached by processes of development and evolution 
working on natural lines. These processes required the 
existence of a strong, just, and stable Government, a 
Government securing justice and equal opportunity to 
all, minorities as well as majorities. It was the duty 
of all patriots to strengthen British control under which 
had been effected the amazing progress of a century. 

The Muhammadan representations came none too 


soon, for, on November 2nd, 1908, the fiftieth 
anniversary of Queen Victoria's Proclamation, King 
Edward VII issued a second Proclamation to the Princes 
and people of India. It claimed that " the incorpora- 
tion of many strangely diversified communities and of 
some 300,000,000 of the human race, under British 
guidance and control, has proceeded steadfastly and 
without pause : that difficulties such as attend all 
human rule had been faced by servants of the British 
Crown with toil and courage and patience, with deep 
counsel and a resolution that has never faltered nor 
shaken." It undertook to repress anarchy and to take 
continuously steps towards obliterating distinctions of 
race as the test for access to posts of public authority. 
It announced that the time had come to " prudently 
extend the principle of representative institutions." It 
foreshadowed reforms in " politic satisfaction " of the 
claims of important classes " representing ideas that 
have been fostered and encouraged by British rule." 

These reforms were announced by Lord Morley on 
the 17th of the following month. They had been under 
consideration for two years, and every effort had been 
made to gauge the trend of public opinion and to con- 
sult all interests concerned. The reforms were on a 
large and generous scale. The Legislative Councils 
were greatly enlarged. The Provincial Councils were 
given non- official majorities. So far the nearest ap- 
proach to the election of non-official members had been 
nominations by Government upon the recommenda- 
tions of majorities of the voters on certain public bodies. 
Now Parliament was asked, " in a very definite way, 
to introduce election working alongside of nomination 
with a view to the due representation of the different 
classes of the community." Any member was to be 
allowed to divide his Legislative Council on financial 


questions, and all such Councils were to be invested 
with power to discuss matters of public and general 
importance and to pass recommendations or resolutions 
to the Executive Government. The Government would 
deal with such resolutions as they thought fit ; but 
the concession was one of great importance, and has 
materially influenced the course of political events. 
Further, the Executive Councils of the Supreme and 
Subordinate Governments were to receive Indian mem- 
bers. Lord Morley had already appointed two Indians, 
one Hindu and one Muhammadan, to the Council of the 
Secretary of State. His reforms were, with slight 
variations, accepted by both Houses. In explaining 
them, he took pains to disclaim all intention of in- 
augurating a system of parliamentary government in 
India. Such a system he apparently considered un- 
suited to Indian conditions, and for this reason, while 
conceding non-official majorities in the Provincial 
Legislative Councils, he retained the official majority 
in the Imperial Council. He explained this distinction 
in the following words : 

" But in the Imperial Council we consider an official 
majority essential. It may. be said that this is a most 
flagrant logical inconsistency. So it would be on one 
condition. If I were attempting to set up a parlia- 
mentary system in India, or if it could be said that 
this chapter of reforms led directly or indirectly to the 
establishment of a parliamentary system in India, I, 
for one, would have nothing at all to do with it. I do 
not believe it is not of very great consequence what 
I believe, because the fulfilment of my vaticinations 
could not come off very soon in spite of the attempts 
in Oriental countries at this moment, interesting at- 
tempts to which we all wish well, to set up some sort 
of parliamentary system it is no ambition of mine 
at all events to have any share in beginning that opera- 


tion in India. If my existence, either officially or 
corporeally, were to be prolonged twenty times longer 
than either of them is likely to be, a parliamentary 
system in India is not at all the goal to which I would 
for one moment aspire/' l 

It is, however, not surprising that the reforms were 
regarded by Indian politicians as a decided step toward 
parliamentary government, for it is difficult to reconcile 
Lord Morley's words with his establishment of non- 
official majorities in the provincial Legislative Councils, 
or with his policy of prudently extending " the principle 
of representative institutions." Lord Curzon, in the 
House of Lords on February 23rd, 1909, criticised 
the new measure in the following terms : 

" I wonder how these changes will, in the last resort, 
affect the great mass of the people of India, the people 
who have no vote and have scarcely a voice. Remem- 
ber that to these people, representative government 
and electoral institutions are nothing whatever. The 
good government that appeals to them is the govern- 
ment which protects them from the rapacious money- 
lender and landlord, from the local vakil, and all the 
other sharks in human disguise who prey upon these 
unfortunate people. I have a misgiving that this 
class will not fare much better under these changes 
than they do now. At any rate I see no place for them 
in these enlarged Councils which are to be created, and 
I am under the strong opinion that as government in 
India becomes more and more parliamentary as will 
be the inevitable result so it will become less paternal 
and less beneficent to the poorer classes of the popula- 

The reception accorded to these changes by the 
Congress, now void of Extremists, was enthusiastic. 

1 The difficulties of forming parliamentary electorates in India are 
clearly set forth in paragraph 2G3 of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report. 


A Bengali deputation to the Viceroy presented an 
address containing the following passage : " It is a step 
worthy of the noble traditions of the Government which 
has given us liberty of thought and of speech, high 
education, and local self-government." The late Mr. 
Gokhale, the leader of the Moderates, whose outlook had 
altered since December 1906, spoke of " the generous 
and fair nature " of the reforms, and urged that they 
should be gratefully accepted. Co-operation with 
Government must take the place of mere criticism of 
Government. The attitude of constant antagonism must 
be abandoned. Hindus, Muhammadans, and Parsis were 
mostly a dreamy race, and the Hindus were especially 

" I admit," he said, " the importance of dreams in 
shaping our aspirations ; but in practical matters we 
have to be practical men and remember two things. 
Life is not like writing on a clean slate. We have to 
take the words existing on the slate and add other 
words so as to make complete sentences and produce a 
harmonious meaning. Secondly, whatever you may 
ask for is not the same thing as that which you will get, 
or will be qualified to, in practice, maintain if you get." 

The Muhammadans, however, asked for representa- 
tion in excess of their numerical strength, and arrange- 
ments were made to meet their wishes in accordance 
with the undertaking given by Lord Minto and subse- 
quently endorsed by Lord Morley in the House of 
Lords on February 23rd, 1909. 

For this and other reasons the regulations which 
were framed in India to carry into effect the intentions 
of the British Parliament failed in some measure to 
give complete satisfaction to advanced Hindus. Still, 
on the whole, reasonable Progressives were satisfied ; 
and the Conservative classes, whose interests had been 


carefully considered in the regulations, were pleased 
with the stir and novelty of the new order of things. 

The partition of Bengal, however, was still denounced 
by the Bengali Moderate leaders : and on the stream 
of anarchic crime the reforms produced no effect. 
The police had been strengthened in Bengal, and 
remediary measures had been adopted ; but it was 
plain to all that the seeds so long and widely sown 
among the youth of the country by deliberate propa- 
ganda and poisonous newspapers was still bearing 
abundant fruit. At Poona, on July 8th, 1909, Mr. 
Gokhale again urged loyal acquiescence in British rule 
for two reasons : 

" One that, considering the difficulties of the position, 
Britain had done very well in India, the other that 
there was no alternative to British rule and could be 
none for a long time. . . . They could proceed in two 
directions : first toward an obliteration of distinctions, 
on the grounds of race, between individual Indians and 
individual Englishmen, and second by way of advance 
toward the form of government enjoyed in other parts 
of the Empire. The latter was an ideal for which the 
Indian people had to qualify themselves, for the whole 
question turned on character and capacity, and they must 
realise that their main difficulties lay with themselves." 

Again at Bombay, on October 9th of the same 
year, in addressing the Students' Brotherhood, he 
strongly denounced the active participation of students 
in politics, and the tactics and objects of the Extremists, 
in the following memorable terms : 

' The active participation of students in political 
agitation really tends to lower the dignity and the re- 
sponsible character of public life and impair its true 
effectiveness. It also fills the students themselves 
with unhealthy excitement, often evoking in them a 


bitter partisan spirit which cannot fail to interfere with 
their studies and prove injurious to their intellectual 
and moral growth. ... I venture to think that a stage 
has been reached in our affairs when it is necessary for 
us to face resolutely our responsibilities in this matter. 
Every one knows that during the past few years a new 
school of political thought has arisen in the country, 
and that it has exercised a powerful fascination over 
the minds of young men more or less in all parts of 
India. A considerable part of what it has preached 
could not but find ready acceptance on every hand, 
that love of country should be a ruling principle of our 
lives ; that we should rejoice in making sacrifices for 
her sake ; that we should rely, wherever we could, on 
our own exertions . . . side by side with this undoubtedly 
valuable work, the new party gave to the country a 
great deal of what could only be regarded as unsound 
political teaching. That teaching was in the first in- 
stance directed to the destruction of the very founda- 
tions of the old public life of the country. But, once 
started, it could not be confined to that object, and in 
course of time it came to be applied generally. Its 
chief error lies in ignoring all historical considerations 
and tracing our political troubles to the existence of a 
foreign Government in the country. Our old public life 
was based on frank and loyal acceptance of British 
rule, due to a recognition of the fact that it alone could 
secure to the country the peace and order which were 
necessary for slowly evolving a nation out of the hetero- 
geneous elements of which India was composed, and 
for ensuring to it a steady advance in different direc- 
tions. The new teaching condemns all faith in the 
British Government as childish and all hope of real 
progress under it as vain. . . . Our general lack of 
political judgment is also responsible for the large 
measure of acceptance which it (' the new teaching ') 
received. Not many of us care to think for ourselves 
in political matters, or, for the matter of that, in any 
public matters. Ready-made opinions are as con- 


venient as ready-made clothes and not so noticeable. 
... I think those of our public men who realise the 
harm which the new teaching has done, have not so far 
done their duty by the student community of this 
country. ... I feel that it is now incumbent on us to 
speak out freely. As I have said, the self-reliance 
which is part of the new propaganda cannot but be 
acceptable to all. It is in regard to the attitude to- 
ward the Government which the programme advocates 
that the need for a protest and a warning arises. . . . 
When one talks to young men of independence in a 
country like this, only two ideas are likely to present 
themselves clearly before their minds. One is how to 
get rid of the foreigner, and the other is how soon to 
get rid of him. All else must appear to them as con- 
paratively of minor importance. . . . We have to re- 
cognise that British rule, in spite of its inevitable draw- 
backs as a foreign rule, has been on the whole a great 
instrument of progress for our people. Its continuance 
means the continuance of that peace and order which it 
alone can maintain in our country, and with which our 
best interests, among them, those of our growing nation- 
ality, are bound up. . . . Our rulers stand pledged to 
extend to us equality of treatment with themselves. 
This equality is to be sought in two fields : equality for 
individual Indians with individual Englishmen, and 
equality in regard to the form of government which 
Englishmen enjoy in other parts of the Empire. The 
attainment of full equality with Englishmen, if ever it 
is accomplished, is bound to be a slow and weary affair. 
But one thing is clear. It is both OUT right and our 
duty to press along this road, and further, good faith 
requires that we should not think of taking any other. 
Of the twofold equality we have to seek with English- 
men, the first, though difficult of attainment, is not so 
difficult as the second. For it is possible to find in 
this country a fair number of Indians who in character 
and capacity could hold their own against individual 
Englishmen. But the attainment of a democratic form 


of self-government such as obtains in other parts of 
the Empire must depend upon the average strength 
in character and capacity of our people taken as a 
whole, for it is on our average strength that the weight 
of the edifice of self-government will have to rest. 
And here it must be regretfully admitted that our 
average strength to-day is far below the British average. 
The most important work before us, therefore, is to 
endeavour to raise this average. There is work enough 
for the most enthusiastic lover of his country. In fact 
on every side, whichever way we turn, only one sight 
meets the eye that of work to be done and only one 
cry is heard that there are but few faithful workers. 
The elevation of the depressed classes, who have to be 
brought up to the level of the rest of our people, uni- 
versal elementary education, co-operation, improve- 
ment of the economic condition of the peasantry, higher 
education of women, spread of industrial and technical 
education and building up the industrial strength of 
the country, promotion of closer relations between the 
different communities these are some of the tasks 
which lie in front of us, and each needs a whole army 
of devoted missionaries." 

Unfortunately, however, revolutionary teaching and 
revolutionary crime had passed beyond the stage at 
which any words of Mr. Gokhale's could avail to arrest 
them. The masses were unaffected ; but violent crime, 
frequently unpunished, and racial hatred, widely 
preached, were producing their natural influence on many 
members of the rising generation of the better educated. 
As a counterpoise, Mr. Gokhale had founded the " Ser- 
vants of India " society, the objects of which were 
" to train national missionaries for the Service of India 
and to promote by all constitutional means the true 
interest of the Indian people." The members of the 
society were bound to accept the British connection, 
and to recognise that self-government within the Empire 


and a higher life for their countrymen constituted an 
end which could not be attained without years of 
patient effort and building up in the country a higher 
type of character and capacity than was then generally 

So ominous was the outlook at this time, that the 
Viceroy took the unusual step of communicating direct 
with the Euling Chiefs on the subject of the active 
unrest prevalent in various parts of India, and invited 
an exchange of opinions " with a view to mutual co- 
operation against a common danger/' The replies 
which he received were both sympathetic and sugges- 
tive, the majority strongly recommending the necessity 
of checking the licence of the Indian press, to which 
they attributed the responsibility for the widening of 
the gulf between the rulers and the ruled. The 
Revolutionaries had themselves addressed a menacing 
pamphlet to the Chiefs. The letters of the latter con- 
tributed toward the passing of that long-needed and 
long-deferred measure, the Indian Press Act, by the 
newly constituted Imperial Legislative Council in Feb- 
ruary 1910. The Act imposes no censorship ; it prac- 
tically substitutes forfeiture of security for criminal 
prosecution, and while conceding a certain amount to 
executive discretion, it tempers that discretion by mak- 
ing orders of forfeiture appealable to a High Court. 

The loyal attitude of the Chiefs was subsequently 
intensified by the impressions left by the royal visit, 
and has been of great assistance to the British Govern- 
ment. Lord Morley had commented in Parliament on 
the importance of " these powerful princes " as stand- 
ing forces in India, but had not accepted a proposal 
of Lord Minto's Government for the institution of an 
advisory Council of Ruling Chiefs and territorial mag- 
nates. It is of course arguable that Ruling Chiefs can 


have nothing to do with affairs in British India, yet 
these affairs may most seriously affect their position in 
their States. 

The firm loyalty of the Princes, the personal popu- 
larity of the Viceroy, the Reforms and the altered 
attitude of the purified Congress party, the long-needed 
Press Act, the breaking up and bringing to trial of two 
notorious gangs of revolutionary conspirators in Cal- 
cutta and Dacca all combined to make the last year of 
Lord Minto's rule comparatively peaceful. Soon after 
his departure Lord Morley left the India Office. They 
had passed through critical times. They were jointly 
responsible for measures which temporarily satisfied 
sober political opinion, and, but for the war, would 
probably have worked sufficiently well for a consider- 
able period. But in coping with the revolutionary 
movement, they were slow to realise the virulence of 
the propaganda and the rapidity with which it was 
spreading among the schools and colleges of Bengal, 
fostered by bad conditions and ill-paid seditious teachers, 
" proclaiming to beguiled youth that outrage was the 
evidence of patriotism and its reward a martyr's crown." i 
The wide extent of the mischief was at first discredited, 
and the whole conspiracy obtained a long start. 

No Secretary of State ever devoted more anxious 
or thorough attention to India than did Lord Morley. 
The distinction of his speeches and writings did much 
to invest Indian affairs with interest for the ordinary 
British citizen. But it is evident from them and from 
his Recollections that he was frequently perplexed by 
conflict between measures advised from India and his 
own predilections combined with the ideas of many of 
his political supporters. It may be said roughly that 
throughout the period of calm that followed the Mutiny 

1 Speech by Lord Minto in 19C8. 


up to the last year of Lord Curzon's regime the British 
principle of governing India had been " Trust the man 
on the spot." Lord Curzon, during his visit to England 
at the end of his first term of office, in a public speech 
laid stress on the importance of this principle. Until 
then he had no cause to complain of its non-observance. 
But the reason and manner of his resignation, and the 
troubles which followed on the partition of Bengal, 
damaged it severely. It is plain from Lord Morley's 
writings that he thought that these troubles were 
largely due to mismanagement by the men on the 
spot, and that the Viceroy was liable to be too greatly 
impressed by the atmosphere in which he worked. As 
a matter of fact, however, both the men on the spot 
and the Secretary of State were confronted by a novel 
and complex state of things. The effect of the Russo- 
Japanese War on Indian political thought, the sudden 
gathering in of the harvest of years of Western educa- 
tion and increasing contact with an increasingly demo- 
cratic England, combined with narrowing employment, 
ill-managed schools, and virulent racial propaganda, 
to produce in Bengal an unprecedented ferment which 
affected the rest of India. The bad schools and starved 
schoolmasters of Bengal were the fruits of official and 
non-official miscalculations. They resulted from the 
adoption of recommendations made by an Educational 
Commission appointed in the early 'eighties. The whole 
movement, which developed so rapidly, was handled 
by those in daily contact with it in a spirit of 
patient courage. The British officials in India were 
in the trenches. They had to bear the brunt of 
the attack. They dealt with it as best they could, 
and reported what they saw. No doubt, being near, 
they saw through a glass darkly. It was no part of 
their duty to join in depreciation of or yield to attacks 


on the Government which they endeavoured faithfully to 
serve, nor were they responsible for the strategy that 
directed their efforts. On the other hand they were 
not concerned with considerations other than those 
which were suggested by the difficult conditions which 
confronted them. In the course of my narrative I am 
endeavouring to make some of these conditions apparent. 
Lord Minto was a gallant, chivalrous gentleman, of 
the stamp which his own countrymen and Indians alike 
admire. He was succeeded by Lord Hardinge of 
Penshurst, who held office for five and a half eventful 
years. Shortly after his arrival came the Congress of 
December 1910, presided over by Sir William Wedder- 
burn. This meeting demanded that certain salutary 
repressive Acts be removed from the Statute book, and 
protested strongly against the treatment of Indians in 
British colonies, but concluded without excitement. 
Three leading Muhammadans of a new school, which was 
to become prominent later, attended. For the first time 
an address of welcome was presented to a Viceroy. He 
was asked to show clemency to all purely political 
offenders. The academic Extremists were entreated to 
return to the Congress fold. The partition of Bengal 
was denounced by a Bengali. The President proposed 
a conference of Hindus and Muhammadans, in order to 
effect a rapprochement on the burning question of 
special or communal representation on religious grounds, 
combined with the corollary question of weighting 
for Muslim minorities. But the conference never met, 
though delegates were appointed, because a prominent 
Hindu politician moved a resolution in the Imperial 
Legislative Council requesting the abolition of all 
separate representation of Muhammadans or councils 
and local boards. He was opposed by Mr. Gokhale 
and by the Home Member of the Government of India, 


who said that the fullest and clearest pledges had been 
given to the Muhammadans " that they should have 
separate representation." 

The year 1911 was marked by some degree of trouble 
in Bengal ; but everywhere else things were quiet, and 
people generally waited expectantly for the royal visit, 
which achieved brilliant success, bringing the gracious 
and sympathetic personalities of Their Majesties as 
Sovereigns of India closely home to all classes, striking 
a keynote of chivalry and loyalty that has reverberated 
in many hearts throughout the troubles of the past four 
years. No one who witnessed the enthusiasm displayed 
by that great gathering could doubt that Great Britain 
has no reason to be ashamed of her record in India. 

The partition of Bengal was altered in a manner that 
gratified Congress sentiment, but annoyed the Muham- 
madans, especially those of the six-year-old Eastern 
Bengal and Assam province, and seriously disturbed 
Indian belief in the ability of the British Government 
to adhere to a declared resolution. 1 The Capital was 
removed from Calcutta to Delhi. In the despatch from 
the Government of India to the Secretary of State 
proposing these changes for sanction, occurred a passage 
which advocated a policy of provincial decentralisation 
and widening self-government, " until India would at 
last consist of a number of administrations autonomous 
in all provincial matters, with the Government of India 
above them all, possessing power to interfere in cases of 
misgovernment, but ordinarily restricting their func- 
tions to matters of Imperial concern." 

When the papers were published, this passage was 
interpreted by advanced Indians as clearly foreshadow- 
ing self-government on colonial lines. This idea, how- 

1 Lord Morley, while disapproving of the partition, regarded it as a 
" settled tact." 


ever, was expressly disclaimed in Parliament by Lord 
Crewe, then Secretary of State, on June 24th, 1912, 
in the following words : 

' There is a certain section in India which looks 
forward to a measure of self-government approaching' 
that which has been granted in the Dominions. I see 
no future for India on these lines. The experiment of 
extending a measure of self-government practically 
free from parliamentary control to a race which is not 
our own, even though that race enjoys the services of 
the best men belonging to our race, is one which cannot 
be tried. It is my duty as Secretary of State to repudi- 
ate the idea that the despatch implies anything of the 
kind as the hope or goal of the policy of Government. 

" At the same time I think it is the duty of the 
nation, and of the Government for the time being of 
the nation, to encourage in every possible way the 
desire of the inhabitants of India to take a further share 
in the management of their country." 

Again, he said, on June 29th, 1912 : 

' There is nothing whatever in the teachings of 
history, so far as I know them, or in the present con- 
dition of the world which makes such a dream " (as 
complete self-government within the British Empire) 
" even remotely probable. ... Is it conceivable that 
at any time an Indian Empire could exist, on the lines, 
say, of Australia and New Zealand, with no British 
officials, and no tie of creed and blood which takes the 
place of these material bonds ? ... To me that is a 
world as imaginary as any Atlantis or any that was 
ever thought of by the ingenious brain of any imagina- 
tive writer. ... I venture to think that it is only 
those who think less of service and more of distinction 
who would lose heart if they braced themselves to set 
aside this vision altogether and to settle down to closer 
co-operation with the Western race, to which they can 
teach much, and from which they can learn much, in 


co-operation for the moral and material bettering of 
the country to which they are BO deeply attached and 
of which we are so proud to be governors." 

In spite of this advice the Congress leaders preferred 
to adhere to their original interpretation of the meaning 
of the disputed passage, and continued to profess self- 
government on colonial lines as their goal, striving to 
accelerate advance by unremitting pressure, sometimes 
employing analogies which are apt to deceive if applied 
to cases which are not really parallel. 

The year 1912 was further marked by the appoint- 
ment of a Royal Commission to report on the constitu- 
tion and conditions of the Public Services, with the 
main object of investigating the possibilities of admitting 
Indians in larger numbers to the higher grades. The 
report of this body was only published in January 1917. 
Publication had been delayed by the war. Political ex- 
pectations had greatly risen, and proposals which were, 
in fact, liberal, were denounced as grossly inadequate. 

In the meantime a change had been gradually com- 
ing over the spirit and aims of the Muslim League. 
The war between Italy and Turkey, events in Persia, 
and, above all, the Balkan war, created considerable 
sympathy with Turkey and resentment at the appar- 
ently passive attitude of the British Government. 
The sympathy of Indian Muhammadans, especially the 
Sunnis, with Turkey was prominent as long ago as the 
time of the Crimean war, and is referred to in the pri- 
vate correspondence of Lord Dalhousie, recently pub- 
lished. It had strengthened with time and improved 
communications. Above all, it had grown with a pan- 
Islamic propaganda, which, originally inculcating reli- 
gious and political reform, and preached in Turkey 
and Egypt by Shaikh Jamal-ud-din el Afghani, an 


Afghan educated in Bokhara, had been subsequently 
converted, first by Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid and afterwards 
by the Young Turks, into an appeal to the Faithful to 
rally round the Ottoman Khalifat. 1 

Many Muhammadan politicians disliked our agree- 
ment with Russia, and contrasted British inaction 
during the Balkan war with her championship of Turkey 
in former days. They saw that while Japan was prov- 
ing the ability of an Asiatic power to make herself 
respected, the few remaining Muslim powers, Morocco, 
Persia, and Turkey, were sinking lower into depths of 
submission or calamity. And, turning their eyes on 
their own country, they beheld in Lord Morley's Re- 
forms and the alteration of the partition of Bengal what 
they regarded as conclusive triumphs for the policy of 
agitation pursued by the Congress. While these im- 
pressions were working on their minds, Congress news- 
papers were profuse in expressions of sympathy over 
the misfortunes of Turkey. All these things, working 
together, produced a remarkable effect. In 1908 the 
President of the All-India Muhammadan Conference, 
Mr., now Sir, Saiyid Ali Imam, had declared that the 
Muslim League and the Congress differed fundamentally. 

" Has not," he said, " this ideal of self-government 
created impatience, because of its impracticability, 
carrying idealism off its feet and creating extremism ? 
Let the Congress announce that in practical politics 
loyalty to the British administration is loyalty to India, 
and that reform in the existing administration is pos- 
sible only with the maintenance of British control. . . . 
As long as the leaders of the Indian National Congress 
will not give us a workable policy like the one indicated 
above, so long the All-India Muslim League has a 
sacred duty to perform. That duty is to saye the 

1 See Appendix III. 


community it represents from the political error of 
joining in an organisation that in the main, as Lord 
Morley says, cries for the moon." 

Even in January 1910 the Muslim League, under 
the presidency of the Agha Khan, had expressed grati- 
tude for the consideration showed to the Muhammadans 
in the Reform arrangements ; but a remarkable change 
was imminent. In August 1912 the majority of lead- 
ing Muhammadans were unable to come to terms with 
Government in regard to the conditions under which a 
Muhammadan university should be established at 
Aligarh. Later on in the year Indian Muslims de- 
spatched a medical Eed Crescent Mission to Turkey. 
In January 1913 the council of the Muslim League 
decided to recommend a new constitution to their 
association. The objects were henceforth to be " the 
promotion among Indians of loyalty to the British 
Crown, the protection of the rights of Muhammadans 
and, without detriment to the foregoing objects, the attain- 
ment of the system of self-government suitable to India." 
These recommendations were accepted by the associa- 
tion at Lucknow on March 22nd, 1913. There it 
was said that if Sir Edward Grey remained arbiter of 
Britain's foreign policy, the Muslim status in Asia would 
be swallowed up by Russia. The adoption of suitable 
self-government as an ideal was adopted, after a heated 
discussion, by a large majority. Influential Mussulmans 
present regarded the proposal as a departure from the 
fixed policy of the Muhammadans and destructive to 
their interests as a minority in India. Others thought 
the aim proposed not high enough, and desired identity 
with that expressed by the Congress. The Agha Khan 
was not present at the meetings. But afterwards he 
commented to the London branch of the League on 


the resolutions passed. If, lie said, self-government for 
India meant, as he took it to mean, an ideal involving 
many decades of effort toward self-improvement, social 
reform, educational diffusion, and complete amity 
between the various communities, the ideal must com- 
mend itself to thoughtful approval. But if it meant 
a mere hasty impulse to jump at the apple when only 
the blossoming stage was over, then the day that wit- 
nessed the formulation of the ideal would be a very 
unfortunate one in the annals of their country. 

Not long afterwards he resigned the presidency of 
the League. The change in the ideals of that body 
was confirmed at the sessions of December 1913, and 
was eulogised by the Congress meeting of the same 

The qualification " self-government of a kind suited 
to India " appears to mean self-government in which 
Muhammadans will have a share proportioned to 
what they consider to be their political rather than 
their numerical importance. As we shall see later, 
an attempt has recently been made to define this 

In the year 1912, revolutionary stores, arms, and 
documents were discovered in Eastern Bengal ; a bomb 
outrage was attempted in Western Bengal ; and, in 
December, as Lord Hardinge was making his state 
entry into the new capital, a bomb was thrown which 
wounded him very seriously and killed one of his 
attendants. The perpetrator of the outrage was not 
discovered, although there is little doubt that he was 
one of an association of Hindu revolutionaries who were 
brought to justice for a subsequent murder. 

Revolutionary effort intensified in Bengal during 
1913, and afterwards up to the outbreak of the war. 
It established a terrorism which largely prevented 


witnesses from coining forward to testify to the crimes 
that were committed. In other provinces things went 
smoothly, and the business of the new Legislative 
Councils progressed with satisfactory harmony. The 
Viceroy had earned remarkable popularity by his firm 
and courageous bearing under the outrage which so 
nearly killed him, as well as by his outspoken sympathy 
with the cause of Indians in South Africa. Thus the 
outbreak of the Great War found India generally tran- 
quil. Advanced politicians Hindus and Mussulmans 
mainly lawyers and journalists, were drawing near a 
common platform, and seeking vaguely for representative 
government on colonial lines. With some this goal was 
merely a nominal article of faith, but with others it was 
a genuine objective. On the whole, however, they were 
satisfied with the recent reforms. But behind them 
was a small section of revolutionaries, who, sometimes 
encouraged from abroad, were asserting their presence 
by intermittent manifestations of subterranean activities 
of the most sinister kind. Apart entirely from political 
contentions stood the great majority, the masses of 
conservative and indifferent opinion, the main body of 
the territorial aristocracy, the landlords, the military 
castes, the cultivators, the ordinary trading population. 
Apart also, though not inattentive, was the European 
mercantile and non-official community. The ranks of 
the Nationalists, though slender, were drawn from the 
better educated and more systematically organised in- 
telligence of the country. They dominated the Indian 
Press, frhey had started and spread the idea of a 
united self-governing India. In the process their views 
and policy had become increasingly biased by racial 
feeling, by a lessening faith in British efficiency, and 
by a growing belief that India, unfettered by foreign 
ascendancy, could rival the success of Japan. The 


notable differences between conditions in India and 
those in Japan they seldom regarded. For some years 
their extreme wing had been discredited. Its leaders 
had temporarily vanished. Its most ardent followers 
had been absorbed by revolutionary associations.' 

END OF 1916 

IN August 1914, Lord Hardinge of Penshurst had been 
Viceroy for three years and nine months. He had 
achieved remarkable popularity. The country was 
exceedingly quiet, the sole disturbing features being the 
frequency of revolutionary crimes in Bengal. The 
Legislative Councils were working well ; the Ruling 
Chiefs, the commercial, military, and territorial classes, 
were loyal and contented ; relations with Afghanistan 
and the frontier tribes were good. India was ready to 
meet the storm which burst so suddenly, and she met 
it well. The circumstances of the beginning of the 
great struggle, the cause in which Britain was to fight, 
touched the warm Indian imagination. Conservative 
and advanced classes alike rejoiced in the despatch of 
Indian troops to the Front. The energetic loyalty of 
the Ruling Chiefs set a splendid example to the whole 
country. Politicians followed the initiative of one of 
their leaders, who moved in the Imperial Council that 
India should be allowed to share in the financial burdens 
which the war must entail. They responded to the Vice- 
roy's appeal for suspension of domestic controversy. 

The position of the Muhammadans soon became ex- 
ceedingly difficult. To appreciate it properly we must 
remember what religion is to ordinary Indian Muslims, 
the depth of their innate fanaticism, and the regard in 



which, at times encouraged by us, they have been 
accustomed to hold the Sultan of Turkey. It is certain, 
moreover, that pro-Turkish influences were actively at 
work. When we consider all these things, we must 
heartily appreciate the general loyalty which Muslims 
showed to the British Crown. That pan-Islamism 
should be silent in such circumstances, that it should 
not cause trouble here and there, was hardly to be 
anticipated. But, on the whole, Indian Muham- 
madans have deserved well of the British Government. 
Their path was smoothed by the declaration, which 
immediately followed the entry of Turkey into the war, 
that the Holy Places of Arabia and sacred shrines of 
Mesopotamia would be immune from attack by Britain 
and her allies, so long as Indian pilgrims remained un- 
molested. And the loyal manifesto simultaneously 
published by the premier Ruling Chief, himself a Sunni 
Muhammadan, 1 exercised a calming influence. 

In the early days of the war there were signs of a 
willingness on the part of the Press to abandon the 
time-honoured practice of incessant carping at the 
Indian Civil Service, but these signs were evanescent. 
A zealous desire was shown by some Moderates for 
accommodation with the academic Extremists, and was 
necessarily accompanied by reluctance to recognise the 
reality and dangers of the revolutionary movement. 
As regards, however, the main issue the war the 
heart of the Congress remained sound, both for senti- 
mental and for selfish reasons. The eyes of intelligent 
Indians were sufficiently open to see that the enemies 
of England were their enemies. 

Revolutionary activity, however, continued in pal- 
pable evidence in spite of repressive measures. Con- 
spiracies at Delhi, Lahore, and elsewhere came to light, 

1 Sunni Muhammadans. See Appendix IV. 


and efforts were made by plotters to undermine the 
loyalty of Indian troops. The theft of a large quantity 
of Mauser pistols and ammunition through the treachery 
of the clerk of a Calcutta firm of gun makers, the 
return from America and Canada of large bodies of 
Sikh emigrants, the combination between some of the 
more dangerous of these and Bengali plotters, and 
the danger of a bloody outbreak which was only nar- 
rowly averted in February 1915, are all set forth in the 
recently published report of the Sedition Committee. 
The same report traces the malignant efforts of Ger- 
many to stir up trouble in India. The Government 
was compelled to have recourse to a special Defence 
Act for the better security of the country, and Sir 
Michael O'Dwyer, Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, 
controlled a most difficult situation with remarkable 
energy and success. Fortunate indeed it was for all 
that the administration of this province was fully equal 
to a most serious emergency, for to this circumstance, 
to the general loyalty of the people, and to the unweary- 
ing labours of the much-abused Criminal Investigation 
Department, it was due that nowhere in India were the 
revolutionaries able to effect anything beyond occasional 
murders or robberies. In Calcutta and Bengal they 
committed a number of outrages ; but their plots to 
bring about paralysis of authority, widespread terrorism 
and murder, and finally general rebellion, completely 

The Defence Act was, in the words of the Montagu- 
Chelmsford Report : 

" inevitably a drastic measure ; it gave to the Governor- 
General in Council wide rule-making powers with a 
view to securing the public safety and defence of the 
country, and also provided for the creation of special 
tribunals for the quicker trial of certain classes of cases 


in specially disturbed tracts. It was comparable to 
a similar Act passed in the United Kingdom also as a 
war measure. The Bill was naturally rather a severe 
trial to the Indian elected members ; as loyal citizens 
they supported its principle ; but they made no secret 
of their aversion to particular provisions, and moved 
many amendments, against which Government used 
its official majority without hesitation, as they would 
have destroyed the efficacy of the Bill. The Act was 
immediately applied in the Punjab, and later elsewhere 
as circumstances demanded/* 

Early in the year 1915 Mr. Gokhale died : and there 
can be no doubt that his death was a serious loss to 
Indian politics. He had shown himself able to adjust 
idealism to circumstances, and bold enough to preach 
common sense. At the same time, up to the day of his 
death, he maintained his widespread influence. His 
place remained empty. 

1915 was a difficult year ; but, as far as India gener- 
ally was concerned, the victory of law and order in its 
earlier months was decisive. The Congress and Muslim 
League met in December at Bombay. The Honourable 
Mr. Sinha, 1 President of the Congress Sessions, spoke 
with " a feeling of profound pride " that India had not 
fallen behind other portions of the British Empire, but 
had stood shoulder to shoulder with them in the hour 
of her sorest trial. . . . Princes and people alike had 
vied with one another to prove to the great British 
nation their gratitude for peace and blessings of civilisa- 
tion secured to them under its aegis for the last hundred 
and fifty years and more. He said that a reasoned 
ideal of the future was required ; an ideal which would 
satisfy the ambitions of the rising generation and 
arrest anarchism ; an ideal which would at the same 

i Now Lord Sinha, K.C. 

100 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

time meet with British approval. This ideal was the 
establishment of democracy pure and simple" govern- 
ment of the people by the people/' The British 
Government was the best government India had had 
for ages. But good government could not be a substi- 
tute for self-government. Every British official in 
India must consider himself a trustee " bound to make 
over his charges to the rightful owners the moment the 
latter attain to years of discretion/' At present India 
was not fit for self-government. Free from England, 
and without a real power of resistance, she would be 
immediately in the thick of another struggle of nations. 
But when Indians had advanced under the guidance 
and protection of England so far as to be able not 
only to manage their own domestic affairs, but to 
secure internal peace and to prevent external aggression, 
it would be the interest and duty of England to concede 
the " fullest autonomy " to India. What this expres- 
sion, " fullest autonomy," means, it was unnecessary 
to say. He found it difficult to believe that Indian 
patriotism would not be reconciled to the ideal of 
Englishmen and Indians united as fellow-citizens of a 
common empire. For the attainment of this ideal 
patience was requisite. Indians must continue to press 
for admission in larger and larger numbers to the public 
service and for the progressive nationalisation of the 
government of the country. Their labours must con- 
tinue till " really free " institutions are established for 
the whole of India by gradual evolution and cautious 

He concluded with the following exhortation : 

" I believe in the doctrine of self-help as much as, 
probably more than, any of you here. I ask, there- 
fore, that, not content with these oratorical feasts for 


three days in the year, we should have a continuous 
programme of work work not political in the sense of 
public meetings, but work in the sense of trying to uplift 
the low and weak . . . remedying the evils that there 
are in our daily lives ignorance, poverty, and disease. 
It is the people whom we want to be capable of self- 
government, not merely Indians like ourselves, but the 
people in the villages, who toil with the sweat of their 
brow. . . . You have got to work day and night, 
patiently and strenuously, if you desire to achieve the 
object which you profess government of the people, 
for the people, and by the people/' 

A committee was appointed to consider a Home Eule 
scheme propounded by Mrs. Annie Besant, the chief 
of the Theosophists, and before the meetings broke up 
some modifications were made in the rules which were 
designed to facilitate the return of Mr. Tilak and his 
party to the Congress fold. Mr. Tilak had been released 
from prison in 1914, had disclaimed all hostility to the 
British Government, and had repudiated the acts of 
violence that had been committed by the revolution- 

The speech of the president of the Muslim League 
emphasised the need for " self-government suitable to 
the needs and requirements of the country under the 
aegis of the British Crown/' and concluded with the 
following sentences : 

!t It is a sore point with us that the Government of 
our Caliph should be at war with the Government of 
our King-Emperor. We should all have been pleased 
to see our brethren in the Faith fighting side by side 
with the soldiers of the British Empire. Whatever 
view one may take of the policy adopted by Islamic 
countries in the present war, Indian Muslims never 
desired, nor ever can desire, hostility between the 
British and Islamic Governments. That hostility should 

102 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

have come about is the greatest misfortune that could 
possibly have befalleji Muslims. I have no desire to 
enter into details, but a vast majority of my co-religion- 
ists, and, for the matter of that, numerous Englishmen 
too, attribute it to the past foreign policy of Great 
Britain, and to the failure of British diplomacy. How- 
ever that may be, it is the cherished desire of the 
followers of Islam that when peace comes and pray 
God that it may come soon Muslim countries should 
be dealt with in such a way that their dignity will not 
be compromised in the future. " 

The League decided to consider Mrs. Besant's Home 
Rule project ; and as during the following year this 
lady assumed a remarkable lead in Indian politics, it is 
necessary to review briefly her antecedents. 

Mrs. Besant's story up to the year 1890 is related 
in a published autobiography. Wife of an English 
clergyman, when quite young, she started independently 
as a keen radical and atheist pamphleteer and speaker. 
For years she worked with the late Charles Bradlaugh, 
and gradually gravitated to socialism. From this cause 
she was diverted by theosophy, which she learnt from 
Madame Blavatsky, a Russian, with whom she livtd 
for some time. After that lady's death she went to 
India, in 1893, in order to work for the Theosophical 
Society. Mr. Hume, the " Father of the Congress," 
had been one of the pioneers of theosophy in India, and 
all Mrs. Besant's antecedents impelled her to sympathise 
with revivalist Hindu religion and politics. Her elo- 
quence, energy, and ability made her a valuable 
adherent, but at first she devoted herself to education. 
It was due to her that the Central Hindu College was 
opened in July 1898, in a small house in Benares City, 
with only a few boys ; it was she who induced the 
Maharaja of Benares to give this struggling institution 


a fine piece of land and spacious buildings ; it was her 
energy and capacity for organisation that, surmounting 
one difficulty after another, brought the College to a 
position which enabled it to become the nucleus of a 
new university. But, before this final success, Mrs. 
Besant had become involved in a strange controversy 
which occupied considerable public attention. She 
resigned the presidency of the College, but retained the 
headship of the Theosophical Society. She turned to 
active participation in politics, started two newspapers, 
and proposed to both the Congress and the Muslim 
League the initiation of a Home Rule League. The 
project did not at first find favour with many members 
of either association ; and all that she could obtain was 
undertakings that it should be taken into consideration. 

Things had gone well during the period from August 
1914 to December 1915. Revolutionary effort had 
been checked and largely suppressed. General politics 
had maintained a high level. Relations between the 
various communities had been good. The seasons had 
been kind and the harvests bountiful. Indian soldiers 
belonging to the martial castes had done good service 
at the various 'fronts. But in Europe the prospect was 
gloomy, and in Asia the Mesopotamian Expeditionary 
Force, after winning considerable success, had been 
compelled to retreat, and was besieged at Kut-el-Amara 
by a superior Turkish force. It is noteworthy that 
neither the siege nor its disastrous termination pro- 
duced any visible effect in India. 

Early in the year 1916 Lord Hardinge left India 
after an eventful and arduous Viceroyalty. His fare- 
well advice to Indian Nationalists was to remember 
that the development of self-governing institutions had 
been achieved not by sudden strokes of statesmanship, 
but by a process of steady and patient evolution which 

had gradually united and raised all classes of the com- 

The year, however, was marked by the inception 
and rapid growth of a political agitation which was 
inspired by a call for more precipitate progress. Before, 
however, describing it, I will glance at a minor matter 
which disturbed Muhammadan sentiment. 

In June it became known in India that the Grand 
Sharif of Mecca had revolted from the authority of the 
Sultan of Turkey. The Grand Sharif is chief of the 
Arabs of the Hedjaz, and belongs to the tribe of the 
Koreish from which the Prophet himself sprang. For 
a considerable period the Sultans and Sharifs had acted 
in harmony, the Sharifs acknowledging the Khalifat 
of the Sultans in return for general protection and 
heavy subsidies. In times more remote, however, the 
Turkish Sultans had not claimed to be Khalifas, and 
the Hedjaz had not owned their sway. The title of 
the original Arab Khalifs, who had disappeared, was 
first assumed by the Sultan of Turkey in 1575. 

The reasons for the Sharif's rebellion were stated in 
a proclamation which he subsequently issued, to have 
been the proceedings of the Turkish Committee of 
Union and Progress, their departure from the principles 
of the Koran, their contumelious treatment of the 
Sultan, their bloody and inhuman outrages on 

It was natural that the British Government should 
sympathise with the Sharif. It had become known 
that the Turks and Germans proposed to make the 
Hedjaz and Yamen coasts the basis of attacks on 
British vessels and commerce. The Allies had of course 
undertaken to respect the safety and sanctity of the 
Holy Places of Islam in Arabia ; but these were now in 

1 See Appendix III. 


jeopardy from other sources, and the Hedjaz was in 
peril of Turco-German military occupation. 

The revolt of the Sharif, however, was keenly re- 
gretted by some prominent members of the Muslim 
Indian League. It seemed likely to lead to the dese- 
cration of the Holy Places of the Hedjaz, and they 
resented a telegram which had appeared in a news- 
paper to the effect that the Calcutta Mussulmans ap- 
proved of the rebellion. They believed that the Sharif 
had acted with British encouragement and were un- 
aware of the grave underlying military considerations. 
They considered the Sharif totally incapable of main- 
taining independent sovereignty over the ark and shrine 
of Islam. They convened a public meeting which, on 
June 27th, passed a resolution condemning the 
" Arab rebels headed by the Sharif of Mecca and their 
sympathisers as enemies of Islam/' Another resolution 
repudiated " the suggestion conveyed in a Calcutta 
telegram that any class of Indian Mussulmans could be 
delighted with the reported Arab rebellion or could 
view with any feeling other than alarm and disgust the 
consequences likely to follow therefrom." 

All possible publicity was given to these resolutions ; 
but it was explained to the persons aggrieved that 
agitation of this kind in such circumstances was work- 
ing on behalf of the King's enemies and must cease. 
They readily acquiesced. The movement was mainly 
confined to the educated and politically advanced 
Muhammadans. It was not taken up by the religious 
leaders, and therefore did not spread among the masses 
of the people. It is probable, however, that these 
would have been impressed had not preventive action 
been prompt. 

In this year in Bengal increasing murders and 
robberies, committed for the purpose of extracting 

106 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

money to be used in financing revolutionary effort, com- 
pelled the Government to order a considerable number 
of internments under the Defence of India Act, with the 
result that at last anarchical crime received a decisive 

We now come to important political events con- 
nected with the Home Rule movement which had 
originated in two assumptions (a) that there is already 
such a bond between the politicians and the peoples of 
India as that which unites the Irish Home Rule leaders 
with the majority of their fellow-countrymen ; (b) 
that the scales between creeds and castes in India will 
adjust themselves peacefully if the British Government 
will only leave them alone. The agitation cannot be 
clearly understood unless it be described not as an 
isolated movement, but in connection with certain 
other events of the year. It is possible that its pro- 
moters were influenced by the course of events in Ireland. 

On April 22nd, 23rd, and 24th the All-India Con- 
gress Committee met at Allahabad, and at private 
meetings passed certain resolutions which were tenta- 
tive and were to be discussed in consultation with the 
committee of the Muslim League. These meetings 
were presided over by a Congress ex-President, and 
were attended by an ex-President of the Muslim League, 
by Mrs. Besant, and by other less prominent persons. 
After the meetings Mrs. Besant, working from the 
headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar in 
Madras, with the openly professed object of awakening 
the country, busily pushed Home Rule propaganda on 
the platform by orations, and in the Press by two 
newspapers and many pamphlets. The spirit of her 
harangues is apparent from the following quotations : 

" I quite realise that when people are asleep, and 


especially if they are rather heavy, they do not like the 
tomtom that goes on all the night through, beating and 
beating and never stopping. I am an Indian tomtom, 
waking up all the sleepers so that they may wake and 
work for their Motherland. That is my task. And 
they are waking on every side, and the young ones, 
even more than the old ones, are waking to the possi- 
bilities that lie before them. You must remember what 
India was : you must realise that three thousand years 
before the time of Christ, India was great in her com- 
merce, great in her trade. 

" Is India different from any other country, that 
she also may not be proud of her wars, her invasions, 
her conquests, and her defeats, for India has assimi- 
lated every conqueror and has made them contribute to 
the greatness of herself. I know that the English have 
not been assimilated, but 2,000 or 3,000 years hence 
they may be. They have been here but a day or two, 
only for a poor 150 years. What is that in the 5,000 
years recognised by European history of Indian great- 
ness, Indian wealth, and Indian culture ? You have 
no need to be ashamed of India's past, no need to be 
ashamed of being born an Indian. There is no living 
country in the world with such a past, no country that 
can look forward to such a future. For the value of 
the past is that it shows you how to build for the 
future ; the value of the past for you to-day when you 
are breathing what Mr. Gokhale called an atmosphere 
of inferiority ; the value of the past is to remind you 
of what you were ; the value of the past is to awaken 
self-respect ; the value of the past is to make that 
feeling of national pride, without which no nation can 
be, and no national greatness can accrue. So I point 
to your past, and that is what makes our antagonists 
more angry." 

Other of her newspaper utterances were considered 
by the Madras Government to be provocative of racial 

108 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

feeling, and finally she was called on to give pecuniary 
security under the Press Act for the better conduct of 
her publications. She soon forfeited the security and, 
depositing the larger sum required of her for renewed 
journalism, appealed to the High Court against the 
order of forfeiture. Her appeal was dismissed, but in 
the meantime Mr. Tilak had raised his standard. 

In May and June he delivered speeches at Belgaum 
and Ahmednagar in favour of Home Rule which were 
considered by the Bombay Government to be likely to 
bring British rule into hatred and contempt. Sub- 
stantial security for good behaviour for a period of 
one year was demanded from him by a District Magis- 
trate, but the order was subsequently cancelled by the 
Bombay High Court, on the ground that the general 
tenor of the speeches, which were delivered in ver- 
nacular, was not such as to justify the prosecution. 
The following passages from one speech are illustrative 
of Mr. Tilak's style : 

* When the people in the nation become educated 
and begin to know how they should manage their affairs, 
it is quite natural for them that they themselves should 
manage the affairs which are managed for them by 
others. But the amusing thing in this history of 
politics is that the above law about twenty-one years 
has no existence in politics. Though we may perhaps 
somehow imagine a law enjoining that when you have 
educated a nation for a hundred years you should give 
its administration into its hands, it is not possible to 
enforce it. The people themselves must get this 
effected. They have a right (to do so). Hence there 
must be some such arrangement here. Formerly there 
was some such arrangement to a little extent. Such an 
arrangement does not exist now. And herein lies the 
root of all these our demands, the grievances which we 
have, the want which we feel (and) the inconvenience 


which we notice in the administration. And the 
remedy which is proposed after making inquiries about 
that root in the above manner is called Home Kule. 
Its name is ' Swarajya.' To put it briefly, the demand 
that the management of our (affairs) should be in our 
hands is the demand for Swarajya. 

' Formerly there were our kingdoms in this country. 
There were administrators. The proof of this is that 
before the advent of the English Government in this 
c country there was at least some order ; there was no 
disorder everywhere. One man did not kill another. 
Since there existed such order, how are we to say that 
the people are not fit (for powers) ? At the present 
time, science has made progress ; knowledge has in- 
creased ; (and) experience has accumulated in one place. 
Hence we must have more liberty than before, and we 
must have become fitter. (But) on the contrary (it is 
said) we are not fit. Whatever might have been the 
case in former times, this allegation is utterly false. 
Better say, (it) is not to be given. (Cheers.) What I 
say is, don't apply the words ' not fit ' (to us). At 
least we shall know that this is not really to be given. 
We shall get it. But why do we not get it ? It is 
indirectly said that we are not fit. It is to teach you 
that we have come here. This is admitted. But how 
long will you teach us ? (Laiighter.) For one genera- 
tion, two generations, or three generations ? Is there 
any end to this ? Or must we, just like this, work 
under you like slaves till the end ? (Cheers.) Set some 
limit. You come to teach us. When we appoint a 
teacher at home for a boy, we ask him within how many 
days he would teach him, whether in ten, twenty, or 
twenty-five years." 

Mr. Tilak went on to say that the object of saying 
that Indians were not fit to carry on the adminis- 
tration was to keep them always in slavery. It must 
be noted that such harangues are generally delivered 

110 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

to town audiences largely composed of lawyers, educa- 
tionists, and students. A notable feature of this campaign 
was to attract and enlist the young. The bitter lessons 
taught by action in Bengal on these lines some years 
before were disregarded. 

The Kome Eule propaganda appealed in a marked 
manner to students and schoolboys. Mrs. Besant 
formally established her League on September 3rd, 
1916. The issue of her paper, New India, dated 
October llth, gave her prospectus. It asserted 
that fifty branches had been established in the 
principal provinces of India (excepting the Punjab) ; 
that her papers and pamphlets were being translated 
into the vernaculars ; that the membership was be- 
tween 2,000 and 3,000 ; that " Home Rule Day ' 
September 14th was enthusiastically celebrated by 
a number; of branches, as^well as by a great meeting 
held at Madras in the Gokhale Hall of the Young 
Men's Indian Association an organisation founded by 
Mrs. Besant. It stated that the members of the League 
mostly belonged to Madras and Bombay. 

Political excitement intensified among the English- 
educated classes ; and under the Defence of India Act 
Mrs. Besant was formally forbidden to enter the Bom- 
bay Presidency. Later on she was also prohibited 
from visiting the Central Provinces. She did not, 
however, relax her activities. Their general object was 
to spread the doctrine that British rule in India, as 
then established, was injurious to liberty, and that a 
strong and effective demand for Home Rule must be 
organised without delay. 1 

1 On behalf of the Secretary of State for India it was asserted in the 
House of Commons, on July 25th, 1917, that " the action taken 
against Mrs. Besant was due to her activities, such as misrepresenting the 
acts and intentions of Government, and was not due to the ideals pro- 
fessed in their justification." 


Before proceeding further with the history of the 
Home Rule League, I must state that, in October 1916, 
nineteen elected Indian members of the Imperial 
Legislative Council submitted a memorandum of pro- 
posed reforms to the Supreme Government. The 
memorandum noted that " the people of India have 
good reason to be grateful to England for the great 
progress in her material resources and the widening of 
her intellectual and political outlook and for the steady, 
if slow, advances in her national life commencing with 
the Charter Act of India of 1833." It affirmed the 
" very limited character " of the Indian element intro- 
duced into the administration by the Reforms of 1909. 
It stated that the Legislative Councils were mere 
advisory bodies " without any power of effective control 
over the Government Imperial or Provincial/' It 
stated that the people of India were placed " under 
great and galling disabilities from which the other 
members of the British Empire were exempt/' These 
disabilities had reduced them to a state of " utter help- 
lessness/' It referred to such grievances as the Arms 
Act and the system of indentured emigration l into 
certain British Colonies. It asserted that the loyalty 
of the country during the war entitled India to a posi- 
tion of comradeship, not subordination, to " Govern- 
ment that is acceptable to the people because responsible 
to them." It suggested specific reforms on Congress 
lines, and practically declared for parliamentary govern- 
ment in India. 

It is useful to note one argument which was at this 
time advanced by the more enthusiastic Indian poli- 
ticians with considerable effect on their countrymen. 
They pointed to the prospect of federation of the British 
Empire after the war, and deduced the consequent pro- 

1 Indentured emigration has now been abolished. 

bability that unless India strongly asserted herself, she 
would become the subject not only of Great, but of 
Greater Britain, of the Colonies " with their declared 
superiority of white races and their unblushing policies 
of Government against all coloured races." But the 
inclusion of representatives of India in the Imperial 
War Conference largely exploded this alarm. 

Except in the case of the Muhammadan aberration 
already described, the attitude of Indian politicians 
toward the enemies of Britain remained solid through- 
out 1916. But their attitude toward the system of 
British government established in India became in- 
creasingly restless under the strenuous and persistent 
influence of the Home Rule propaganda. Mrs. Besant 
stood for the president's chair at the December Con- 
gress which was to take place in Lucknow and received 
a considerable number of votes, but was defeated by 
Mr. Ambika Charan Mazumdar, an ex- schoolmaster 
from Eastern Bengal, a pleader, and a veteran Congress- 
man. So electric became the political atmosphere, that 
the Government of the United Provinces addressed a 
letter to the president and secretary of the Congress 
Reception Committee calling their attention to the 
undesirable nature of speeches which had recently been 
made in other parts of India, and calling on them to 
do their best to prevent anything of the kind occurring 
in Lucknow. They were plainly warned that if the 
law were transgressed, necessary action would be 
taken. The letter was of course resented, but probably 
it strengthened the hands of the soberer politicians 
and contributed toward the peace and quietness which 
characterised the subsequent Congress proceedings. 

In November representatives of the Congress and the 
Muslim League had met in Calcutta and had decided 
to accept the Home Rule programme. As to special 


Muhammadan electorates they could not then agree, 
and the question was postponed for further considera- 
tion at Lucknow. 

An important political event of the year was the 
announcement, on August 7th, of the intended ex- 
periment of raising a double-company of Bengalis for 
military service. The announcement was received with 
enthusiasm by all loyal gentlemen in Bengal. The 
double-company afterwards developed into a regiment. 

The last week of December will be for ever memor- 
able in the history of Indian politics, for then it was 
that the Congress Moderates and academic Extremists 
proclaimed their reunion, and the principal leaders of 
the Congress and the Muslim League, finally composing 
their principal differences, alike declared for Home Rule. 
The proceedings of both bodies were orderly, and the 
resolutions and speeches had been carefully considered. 

The Chairman of the Congress Reception Committee, 
a Lucknow pleader, announced that leaders of both 
bodies had formulated a scheme of reforms to be pressed 
upon the attention of the British Parliament and 
people after the conclusion of the war, in the name of 
United India, " in order that we may have a controlling 
voice in the direction of our internal affairs." Indian 
patriotism was the greatest guarantee of India's loyalty, 
for the realisation of her most cherished hopes depended 
upon the continuance of British rule. 

The President, Mr. Mazumdar, in a very long address , 
stigmatised the Morley reforms, for which so much\ 
gratitude had been expressed in 1909, as " mere moon- | J 
shine," and, in a brief historical review, stated that 1 
the East India Company, " after a hundred years of 1 
misrule," had been at last overthrown by a military 
rising which transferred the government of the country 
from the Company to the Crown. 

114 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

" It was this Government," he said, " which, actuated 
by its benevolent intentions, introduced by slow degrees 
various reforms and changes which gradually broadened 
and liberalised the administration, and restored peace 
and order throughout the country. In its gradual 
development it introduced, though in a limited form, 
self-government in the local concerns of the people, 
admitted the children of the soil to a limited extent 
into the administration of the country, and reformed 
the Councils by introducing an appreciable element of 
representation in them. It has annihilated time and 
space by the construction of railways and the establish- 
ment of telegraphic communication. It has established 
a form of administration which in its integrity and 
purity could well vie with that of any other civilised 
country in the world, while the security of life and 
property which it conferred was, until lately, a boon of 
which any people may be justly proud." 

In his qualification Mr. Mazumdar evidently referred 
to measures adopted under the Defence of India Act, 1 
and especially to internments of persons considered by 
Government, on carefully tested evidence, to belong to 
revolutionary criminal gangs. In fact, however, had 
he and his friends ever organised a serious and concen- 
trated non-official campaign against the propaganda 
which breeds revolutionary crime, no internments would 
have been required. 

He went on to complain that now the Administra- 
tion had resolved itself into a barren and sterile bureau- 
cracy which was " despotism condensed and crystal- 
lised." * But, he argued, this despotism had, in fact, 
worked up to its own subversion for " from the Queen's 

1 See page 98. 

2 This is a curiously misleading statement. The administration is 
\ subject not only to vigilant criticism and supervision, but to elaborate 
A systems of laws and regulations. 


Proclamation of 1858 down to Lord Morley's Reforms 
of 1909, the British Parliament had not taken a single 
step which was not calculated finally to overthrow this 
despotic form of government. The education given to 
the people, the system of local self-government intro- 
duced, and the elective principle recognised in the 
higher Councils of the Empire, had all tended to under- 
mine the old system of government." He animadverted 
on the educational policy initiated by Lord Curzon's 
Universities Act, and condemned the working of the 
Defence Act. The sovereign remedy for all evils was 
Representative Government alias Home Rule alias 
Swaraj. Self-government should come after the war 
because it must pass through a preparatory process. It 
is through failure that success is achieved in practical 
politics. As regards the masses, the Congress had 
always pleaded for their amelioration, and would there 
not always be the paramount authority of Government to 
correct abuses and remedy injustice wherever committed ? 
The recommendations of the Indian Public Services 
Commission would be of no consequence, for a bureau- 
cratic administration could in no circumstances be 
liberalised. Anarchism had its roots deep in economic 
and political conditions. It was due to misrule, and 
could only be removed by conciliation. Repression was 
useless. 1 

1 It is instructive to consider Mr. Mazumdar's words in the light of 
the state of affairs revealed by the Governor of Bengal in a speech at 
Dacca on July 25th, 1917 : 

" Last year Lord Carmichael spoke to you very frankly upon the ques-\ 
tion of revolutionary crimes committed by men whose object is the over- 1 
throwing of the existing Government in this country. He gave you \ 
figures of outrages which had, he believed, been committed with revo- I 
lutionary ends in view from 1907 up to that time. He told you that no 1 
less than 39 murders and over 100 dacoities had been committed a 1 
sufficiently melancholy tale for any Governor to have to tell, and I regret \ 
to say that this gruesome catalogue has been added to even during the 

116 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

India must have a place in the coming Federal 
Council of the Empire. Their demands would be (I 
enumerate the most important) : 

" (1) India must cease to be a dependency and be 
raised to the status of a self-governing State as an equal 
partner with equal rights and responsibilities as an 
independent unit of the Empire. 

" (2) In any scheme of readjustment after the war, 
India should have a fair representation in the Federal 
Council like the Colonies of the Empire. 

" (3) India must be governed from Delhi and Simla, 
and not from Whitehall or Downing Street. The 
Council of the Secretary of State should be either 
abolished or its. constitution so modified as to admit of 
substantial Indian representation on it. Of the two 
Under-Secretaries of State for India, one should be an 
Indian, and the salary of the Secretary of State should 
be placed on the British estimates, as in the case of the 
Secretary for the Colonies. The Secretary of State for 
India should, however, have no more powers over the 
Government of India than those exercised by the Secre- 
tary for the Colonies in the case of the Dominions. 
India must have complete autonomy, financial, legis- 
lative, as well as administrative. 

" (4) The Government of India is the most vital 
point in the proposed reforms. It is the fountain-head 
of all the local administrations, and unless we can ensure 

short period of my own rule. . . . Widespread and carefully organised 
though the conspiracy was there shown to be, the experience of its rami- 
fications and the knowledge of its methods which have been gained during 
the year that has elapsed have shown that it is even more widespread 
and carefully organised than was known at that time. The second thing 
that I would commend to your thoughtful consideration is that without 
the powers conferred upon Government by the Defence of India Act of 
1915, it would have been impossible for Government to have obtained 
control of the movement and to have given to the people of Bengal the 
comparative immunity from serious revolutionary outrages which they 
have recently enjoyed." 

The Report of the Sedition Committee amply confirms these words. 


its progressive character, any effective reform of the 
Local Governments would be impossible. Thus the 
Services must be completely separated from the State, 
and no member of any Service should be a member of 
the Government. The knowledge and experience of 
competent members of a Service may be utilised in the 
departments, but they should not be allowed to be 
members of the Executive Council or the Cabinet of 
the Government itself. 

" (5) The Executive Government must vest in a 
Governor-General and ministers, half of whom should 
be Indians elected by the Imperial Legislative Council 
and members of that body. 

" (6) The annual budget should be introduced into 
the Legislative Council as a money bill, and, except 
the military estimates, the entire budget should be 
subject to the vote of the Council. 

" (7) The Provincial Governments should be per- 
fectly autonomous, each province developing and enjoy- 
ing its own resources, subject only to a contribution 
toward the maintenance of the supreme Government. 

" (8) A Provincial Administration should be vested, 
as in the case of the supreme Government, in a Gover- 
nor with a cabinet not less than one-half of whom 
should be Indians elected by the non-official elected 
Indian members of its Legislative Council. 

" (9) India should have a national militia to which 
all the races should be eligible under proper safe- 
guards ; all should be allowed to volunteer for service 
under such conditions as may be found necessary for 
the maintenance of efficiency and discipline. The com- 
missioned ranks of the army should be thrown open to 
His Majesty's Indian subjects. 

" (10) All local bodies should have elected chair- 
men of their own." 

Mr. Mazundar would agree to no indefinite post- 
ponement of satisfaction of his demands. He con- 
cluded with a special appeal to the young among 
his audience. They were to take their place in the 

118 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1918 

bloodless revolution which was going on. " Widespread 
unrest would inevitably follow light-hearted treatment 
of the solemn pledges and assurances on which the 
people had built their hopes/' 

There is a discussion of the main principles of this 
scheme in Chapter VII of the Montagu-Chelmsford 

In the course of his address the President had alluded 
to the " sufferings " of Mr. Tilak and Mrs. Besant, and 
these two persons supported a resolution moved by Mr. 
Surendra Nath Banerjee requesting that His Majesty 
the King-Emperor might be pleased soon " to issue a 
proclamation announcing that it is the aim and inten- 
tion of British policy to confer self-government on India 
at an early date." The Congress should also demand 
that a definite step should be taken toward self-govern- 
ment by granting the reforms enumerated by Mr. 

Mr. Banerjee had been the leader of the Moderates 
in the Surat Congress. His speech was remarkable in 
striking an entirely separate note. The ancestors of 
the Hindus, he said, had been the spiritual teachers of 
mankind. Their mission had been arrested. Its re- 
tardation must be removed so that they might be able 
to rescue mankind from the gross materialism and per- 
verse moral culture which had heaped the battle-fields 
of Europe with hecatombs of dead. But they must be 
fully equipped before they could fulfil their high com- 
mission. The indispensable equipment was self-govern- 
ment. Their work was not political, but moral and 
religious. Therefore they were invincible. They were 
now within measurable distance of victory. The pro- 
mised land was in sight. 

Mr. Tilak, who had met with a rapturous reception, 
both at the railway station and on arrival in the Con- 


gress pandal, said that the ovation which he had re- 
ceived was obviously intended for the principles for 
which he had been fighting. They were embodied in 
the resolution moved by Mr. Banerjee. Mrs. Besant 
spoke of the intolerable condition of things under 
which Indians were living. Parliament would pass an 
Act granting freedom. India's belief rested on Eng- 
land and not on the bureaucracy. 

The resolution was carried, and the President an- 
nounced that a copy thereof would be sent to His 
Majesty the King-Emperor. 

I have summarised the prominent proceedings at this 
most important Congress. It will be seen that they 
constituted a remarkable leap forward from the posi- 
tion taken up by Mr. Sinha in the previous year, and a 
remarkable triumph for Mr. Tilak and Mrs. Besant. 
They did more. They showed that absolute political 
independence had become the professed ideal of Moder- 
ate and Extreme politicians alike, and that Government 
was confronted with a more definite situation than any 
that had hitherto presented itself in this connection. 
There was a note in the proceedings which implied 
that if the Extremists had adopted the ideal of the 
Moderates, they were leading the latter, so far as 
the Congress was concerned, into the very paths against 
which Mr. Gokhale warned his countrymen in 1909 
the paths trodden by the new school of political thought 
to which he alluded. On December 20th, 1907, 
Lord Morley had written to Lord Minto " The news 
has just come in that the Congress so far from being 
flat, has gone to pieces, which is the exact opposite of 
flat no doubt. For it means, I suppose, the victory of 
Extremist over Moderate, going no further at this stage 
than the breaking up of the Congress, but pointing to 
a future stage in which the Congress will have become 

120 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

an Extremist organisation." This future stage had 
arrived, but later it led, and was bound to lead, to a 
renewed split. 

The Congress agreed to call on Mrs. Besant's Home 
Rule League for co-operation ; and after long private 
discussion Congress and Muslim Leaguers reached an 
agreement as to proportions of political representation 
on the Legislative Councils of the future. The agree- 
ment was supplemented by the condition that if in 
any province two-thirds of either community did not 
want a Bill or a measure, that Bill or measure should be 
dropped by both communities. They could not agree 
as to proportions on local bodies. The Hindu Sabha, 
or general assembly, which met in the same week, for 
the purpose of dealing with religious, communal, and 
social questions, and was largely attended, protested 
strongly against any Hindu weakening on this subject. 

The chairman of the Reception Committee of the 
Muslim League, a Lucknow barrister, enlarged on the 
determination of Indians to devote themselves to and 
support the British Imperial cause until it should be 
triumphantly vindicated on the field of battle. The 
Muslim League must co-operate with other communities 
for the attainment of self-government or Home Rule, 
and the minority must and would be safeguarded. The 
speaker need not undertake a detailed review of the 
administrative sins and shortcomings " which, like the 
poor, have always been with us." He referred to the 
Press Act, the Defence Act, and certain internments. 

The address of the president, Mr. Muhammad AH 
Jinnah, a Bombay barrister, was, in spite of some rapid 
skating over thin ice, one of the ablest speeches deli- 
vered during these days of oratory. He said that the 
Muhammadan gaze was, like the Hindu gaze, fixed 
upon the future. The decisions which they then 


arrived at would go forth with all the force and weight 
that could legitimately be claimed by the chosen 
leaders of 70,000,000 of Indian Muhammadans. He 
commented in moving terms on the war and on the 
issues at stake therein. He remarked on the necessity 
for reconstruction after the war and on the difficulties 
of the Indian problem. 

' There is," he said, " first the great fact of the 
British rule in India with its Western character and 
standards of administration, which, while retaining , 
absolute power of initiative, direction, and decision, 
has maintained for many decades unbroken peace and 
order in the land, administered even-handed justice, 
brought the Indian mind, through a widespread system 
of Western education, into contact with the thoughts^ 
and ideals of the West, and thus led to the birth of a 
great and living movement for the intellectual and 
moral regeneration of the people. . . . Secondly, there 
is the fact of the existence of a powerful, unifying 
process the most vital and interesting result of Wes-/ 
tern education in the country whiclris creating, OUT 
of the diverse mass of race and creed, a new India fast 
growing to unity of thought, purpose, and outlook, 
responsive to new appeals of territorial patriotism and 
nationality, stirring with new energy and aspiration, 
and becoming daily more purposeful and eager to 
recover its birthright to direct its own affairs and 
govern itself. To put it briefly, we have a powerful 
and efficient bureaucracy of British officers responsible 
only to the British Parliament, governing, with methods 
known as benevolent despotism, a people that have 
grown fully conscious of their destiny and are peace- 
fully struggling for political freedom. This is the 
Indian problem in a nutshell. The task of British" 
statesmanship is to find a prompt, peaceful, and endur- 
ing solution of this problem." 

He described the internal situation in the following 
terms : 

122 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

' We have a vast continent inhabited by 315 millions 
of people sprung from various racial stocks, inheriting 
various cultures, and professing a variety of religious 
creeds. This stupendous human group, thrown together 
under one physical and political environment, is still 
in various stages of intellectual and moral growth. 
All this means a great diversity of outlook, purpose, 
and endeavour." Indian Nationalists were not afraid 
of frankly admitting that difficulties beset their path, 
but these difficulties were " already vanishing before the 
forces which are developing in the new spirit." 

Indians, he concluded, were determined to prove 
their fitness for self-government. The Hindu-Muslim 
rapprochement was the sign of the birth of an United 
India. The scheme of reforms promulgated by the 
Congress must be adopted, and a Bill must be intro- 
duced into the British Parliament to give effect to it. 
He entirely identified the Muhammadan political objec- 
tives with those of the Hindus, and he urged that no 
decisions should be arrived at by supreme authority 
without the publication of proposals in India for public 
criticism and opinions. He briefly asked that Muham- 
madans might be allowed to choose their own Caliph. 
He thanked Government for the assurance that the 
Holy Places of Islam would receive special consideration. 
He concluded by applying the recent utterances of the 
Prime Minister regarding Ireland to the Indian situation. 
Muhammadans must work and trust in God, so that they 
might leave to their children the heritage of freedom. 

The resolutions adopted by the League closely corre- 
sponded to those passed by the Congress. It is re- 
markable that Mr. Bipin Chandra Pal, a well-known 
Bengali Hindu agitator, was asked to speak on the 
subject of the Defence Act, and was received with enthu- 
siasm. He remarked that there were no anarchists in 


Bengal. There were revolutionary patriots. Revolu- 
tionary patriotism would never have been born if there 
had been no attempt to stifle evolutionary patriotism. 

It is important to notice that in spite of the ambi- 
tious character of some of the resolutions passed at the 
Congress and Muslim League meetings, the behaviour 
of the audiences was generally unexceptionable. The 
Lieutenant-Governor was present for a brief period on 
one day of each session and was well received. The 
proceedings were characterised by orderliness, good 
humour, and absence of unpleasant demonstrations. 
The League audiences were far smaller than those of the 
Congress, and consisted partly of persons who seemed 
hardly to comprehend all the speeches or subjects 
referred to by the various speakers. In fact, Mr. 
Jinnah's representation of himself and his friends as the 
chosen leaders of 70,000,000 of Mussulmans was decidedly 
misleading. They had been elected by a small fraction 
of the 70,000,000. The sessions had been preceded by 
a regular split among the Muhammadans of the Punjab, 
and by signs of a split among those of the United Pro- 
vinces. But the Lucknow Leaguers worked the 
machine and the finances. They were solid for union 
with the Congress and carried the meetings, but their 
action was disapproved by many of their co-religionists, 
who consider that, whatever politicians may agree 
upon, the Hindu and Muhammadan masses will, for 
years to come, need an unbiased arbiter ; for in the 
ordinary life of the ordinary Hindu or Muhammadan, 
religion and religious susceptibility still play as 
vigorous a part as they played years ago. 1 

Special efforts had been previously made by the 

1 The great bone of contention is cow-sacrifice by Muhammadans on 
the occasion of the Bakr-Id festival. This is abhorrent to Hindus, who 
are taught by their religion to hold the cow sacred. 

124 POLITICS FROM 1914 TO END OF 1916 

politicians to enlist the sympathy and help of the 
students. These efforts naturally obtained a wide 
success, and the behaviour of all the " volunteers " 
enlisted was excellent. Many Indian ladies attended 
the Congress meetings. A noteworthy outcome of the 
week was the declared determination of Indian Nationa- 
lists to push their demands for self-government by 
introducing a Bill into the Imperial Parliament. There 
can be no doubt that favoured by the sense of self- 
esteem produced by the loyal and gallant conduct of 
Indian soldiers in the war, the general effect of these 
meetings was to extend the influence of nationalism in 
the country. 

On his return journey to Bombay Mr. Tilak lectured 
at Cawnpore to a large mass meeting on Home Rule, and 
met with a remarkably enthusiastic reception ascribed 
by one of his principal hearers to " the sacrifices that 
he had made." 


WHILE the politicians had been concentrating their 
energies on the attainment of constitutional changes, 
and Mrs. Besant had been declaiming against the " in- 
tolerable condition of things in which Indians lived/* 
the country had been profoundly calm. Although for 
more than two years the Great War had distracted the 
world ; although in other countries bloodshed and 
misery, oppression and civil dissension had reigned 
supreme ; India, the ancient battle-ground of Asia, had, 
in spite of the intermittent and malignant efforts of 
desperate revolutionaries, throughout remained free 
from any sort of serious disturbance. The masses had 
followed their customary callings with their customary 
placid contentment ; the aristocracy had lived their 
usual sheltered lives ; the lawyers had pocketed their 
fees ; journalism had thriven ; trade, commerce and 
business had suffered only from such disturbance as 
was inevitable during a great world-strain. Markets 
had at first been affected, but had improved ; industrial 
activities were expanding. The seasons had been good, 
and the rural population was prosperous. 

Only from the martial classes, and especially from 
the martial classes of the Punjab, was the war exacting 
sacrifices of severity. The provision of recruits, labour, 
supplies, railway material, munitions, was adding to 
the ordinarily heavy tasks of the Government of India, 



but had not prevented it from taking thought for the 
removal of Indian grievances and the promotion of 
Indian prosperity. And among grave preoccupations, 
it had been seeking means for the practical solution of 
the difficult problems presented by the much-desired 
furtherance of Indian industrial enterprise. 

Since the beginning of this century a popular demand 
had grown up and increased in India for the develop- 
ment of industries and for vigorous action by the State 
to produce this development. The demand is an ex- 
pression of political, social, and economic needs. For 
many reasons greater industrial activity is desirable. 
Young men of the English-educated classes are increas- 
ingly crowding into the traditional professions of their 
order, government service, law, medicine, and teaching. 
Commercial openings are comparatively few, for com- 
mercial enterprise on a considerable scale has hitherto 
been rare among Indians. Economically greater 
national wealth is desirable, not only for itself, but as a 
condition necessary for the development of national life. 

India was and is mainly an agricultural country. 
Only 9 '5 per cent, of her population are found in towns 
as against the 781 per cent, of England and Wales in 
pre-war days. Agriculture is her great industry, though 
it is yielding a far smaller return than it should and, 
with more skill and applied knowledge, would yield. 
But India had once, and has still to a shrunken extent, 
her own minor industries. In rural India, before the 
days of the steamship and the railway, the village was 
more or less self-sufficing. It grew its own food and 
supplied its own simple wants, its agricultural imple- 
ments and household utensils ; and beyond the village 
in a few larger centres of trade, situated on important 
land routes, navigable rivers or the coast, a market 
existed for rarer and costlier articles which largely 


found their way to foreign countries. Traders and 
artisans clustered round the courts of Indian princes ; 
e rich silks, jewellery, articles of wood, ivory and metal, 
were manufactured, sometimes of exquisite workman- 
ship. Communications were difficult, however, and 
industries of this nature were mainly confined to the 
manufacture of commodities the costliness of which 
was sufficient to counterbalance the expense and risk 
of carriage to a distance. The invention of steam 
power wrought a complete revolution in this simple 
economy. The opening of the Suez Canal and the 
extension of communications by rail and sea encour- 
aged the import of foreign machine-made goods, while 
it stimulated the cultivation of raw materials for ex- 
port. The market for the products of the Indian artisan 
declined. The nature of his calling was modified. 

In the application of machinery to industrial develop- 
ment, India has begun to follow Europe, but tardily. 
Europeans introduced and have practically monopolised 
the jute manufacturing industry of Calcutta. The first 
cotton mill in India was set up by a Parsi ; and in the 
cotton spinning and weaving industry in the Bombay 
Presidency Indians have always occupied a prominent 
place. There was no systematic investigation, how- 
ever, of the problems peculiar to India, and there was 
no attempt on the part of Government or the people to 
make India economically self-supporting. The general 
policy was to procure from abroad what could be 
obtained thence more cheaply and to accept the situation. 
As already remarked, however, Indians have been 
prominent as mill-owners in Bombay, and there it was 
that the late Mr. Justice Ranade, the social reformer, in 
a paper read in 1893 before an Industrial Conference at 
Poona, observed that some of his countrymen were re- 
cognising the importance of adopting modern methods 


of manufacture and the necessity of reviving and 
encouraging indigenous industries. His expectations 
of progress were over-sanguine. Early in the present 
century, however, the demand for " Swadeshi " or 
indigenous industries, which started in Bengal in associa- 
tion with Bengali politics, was considerably intensified 
by observation of the economic progress of Japan. A 
number of factory enterprises were undertaken, especi- 
ally in Bengal, mostly on a small scale, but being devoid 
of business knowledge or direction, as well as of sub- 
stantial pecuniary support, these generally failed. For 
some time the Government Stood aside from the effort, 
content to trust to technical education and the example 
of British industries, but rapidly it grew obvious that 
India possessed materials for a large and varied in- 
dustrial output, and that to call forth these materials 
would be a great and beneficent work for which far 
more capital and enterprise were urgently needed. 
Money, competent managers of labour, expert guidance, 
were all essential. It became equally plain that unless 
a strong lead were taken by Government, these would 
not be found, even though the possibility of the large- 
scale enterprise in India had been established by some 
jute and cotton mills as well as by the Tata Iron Works, 
" a veritable steel city with trans- Atlantic complete- 
ness of equipment," which has sprung up within the 
present century. 1 Progressive Indians frankly ex- 
pected material State assistance toward commercial and 
industrial progress. 

With the outbreak of the war the political and 
economic importance of raising India from the position 
of a mere exporter of raw produce was soon emphasised. 

1 " The really great and typical advance of industry in India has been 
the Tata Iron and Steel Company." Evidence of Sir John Hewett before 
the Parliamentary Committee. 


The success of practical demonstration following on 
investigation had been previously evidenced in the 
case of agriculture. It was obvious that this process 
might be extended to industries. The question of 
industrial improvement was raised in the Imperial 
Legislative Council Sessions of 1915, and it was decided 
that a Commission should be appointed to consider how 
it could be effected. Some Indian members were 
anxious for measures of tariff protection, but these were 
specifically excluded from the terms of reference, al- 
though tariff protection is one of the main objectives 
of Indian Nationalists. A strong British and Indian 
Commission was constituted under the presidency of 
Sir Thomas Holland, K.C.I.E., who had been Director 
of the Indian Geological Survey, and after retirement 
from office had taken up work as Professor in the Uni- 
versity of Manchester and as a consulting geologist. 

The proceedings of the Commission were followed 
with considerable interest. Recognising their lack of 
technical knowledge and of instruction in the business 
side of industry, as well as the difficulty of raising funds, 
the advocates of indigenous enterprise asked for an 
extreme measure of Government help in regard to 
both technical education and the grant of special 
facilities to particular indu>ferfes. They also requested 
financial assistance by>^ay of subscription of shares or 
guarantees. The- leading business men made practical 
suggestions regarding individual difficulties, and a great 
deal of information of all kinds was obtained. There 
were, however, some complaints that the Commission 
was a device on the part of Government for postponing 
the grant of solid assistance to Indian industries, or 
for providing openings for British capital, and very 
strong exception was taken to the exclusion of tariff 
questions from the terms of reference. 


One important result early accrued from the in- 
vestigations of this Commission. A Munitions Board 
was constituted, under the presidency of Sir Thomas 
Holland, which worked toward co-ordinating Govern- 
ment demands for all war supplies, except food and 
forage, as well as assisting manufacturers to deal with 
these demands. Organisation had been needed both 
among Indian industrialists and among the consuming 
departments of Government with reference to war 
conditions. There had been considerable lack of 
knowledge among manufacturers as to the present and 
probable requirements of Government; and supplies 
had been purchased, both by public departments 
and by private firms, from the United Kingdom and 
elsewhere which could with more contrivance have 
been provided in the country. All these shortcomings 
were vigorously combated, and Government indents 
began to pass through the hands of the Munitions 
Board, who, with the help of local controllers in all 
provinces, obtained information as to the possibilities 
of manufacture, passed on to industrialists information 
regarding Government demands, and assisted them, so 
far as possible, in meeting requirements which could be 
dealt with by some modification of the existing 
machinery or process. It was hoped that by the con- 
clusion of peace this Board would have created a 
Government Stores department, and have itself de- 
veloped into an industrial department which would 
ensure the placing in India of the largest possible 
number of Government and private orders for manu- 
factured articles while, by affording information and 
advice, it would assist manufacturers to meet those orders. 

The Keport of the Commission was published late in 
the year 1918, is now under the consideration of 
the Secretary of State, and should lay the foundation of 


an advance in Indian industries which may greatly 
extend the field of employment for the Indian profes- 
sional classes. 

The Government had also been examining another 
question much debated by politicians, the possibility of 
substituting a less objectionable scheme for the system 
of indentured emigration of Indian labourers to certain 
British Crown-Colonies. There had long been some 
confusion in the political mind between abuses arising 
from this system and the exclusion of free Indians from 
the self-governing Dominions. In fact no Crown- 
Colony has ever imported Indian indentured labour and 
simultaneously restricted free Indian immigration, and 
no self-governing Dominion except Natal has ever im- 
ported indentured Indian labour. Export of such 
labour to Natal was stopped some years ago by the 
Government of India, as they were dissatisfied with the 
treatment of free Indians by Natal colonists. In de- 
claiming against the export of indentured labour to 
Crown-Colonies, Indian Nationalists have been influenced 
partly by the exclusion of free Indian immigrants 
from self-governing Dominions. Lord Hardinge had 
said that the then existing export arrangements must 
be maintained until the new conditions under which 
labour should be permitted to proceed to the Colonies 
had been worked out in conjunction with the Colonial 
Office and the Colonies concerned. But some poli- 
ticians were pressing for early solution, and their repre- 
sentations were being considered by the Government 
of India in a sympathetic spirit. A temporary solution 
was found during the February sessions of the Imperial 
Legislative Council. 

These sessions require careful notice, for they were 
of exceptional interest and importance. They com- 
menced, in fact, a period which has not yet concluded, 


a period of strenuous efforts by the Government of 
India to pacify political excitement. These attempts 
have met with considerable disappointment. The 
arbitrament now lies with the Imperial Parliament. 

The sessions were opened by His Excellency Lord 
Chelmsford, who announced that the Report of the 
Royal Commission on Public Services, appointed in 
1912, which had just been published, would be carefully 
considered. The major questions, among which the 
increased employment of Indians in the higher branches 
of the services was one of the most important, would 
not be prejudiced or delayed by lesser problems. He 
also announced that the expediency of broadening the 
basis of government and the demand of Indians to 
play a greater share in the conduct of public affairs 
were receiving attention. Progress must be on well- 
considered and circumspect lines. Subject to these 
considerations, sympathetic response would be made 
to the existing spirit of progress. The Government of 
India had addressed a despatch to the Secretary of State 
on this subject in the previous autumn. The Viceroy 
had noted that the reforms proposed in the Memorandum 
of the nineteen members had received endorsement by 
resolutions passed by the National Congress. His 
Majesty's Government were at present entirely occupied 
on matters connected with the war, and would not be 
able to give speedy attention to the despatch. 

A further opportunity of service had been offered to 
India by the announcement of an Indian War Loan 
which would soon be launched. His Excellency referred 
to the devoted and loyal assistance given by the Ruling 
Chiefs towards the prosecution of the war, to the flow 
of contributions, and offers of service from their States. 
He concluded by announcing the impending organisa- 
tion of an Indian Defence Force, which would include 


Indians, and the representation of India by three 
selected members at the coming special War Conference 
in London. These announcements were received with 

On February 21st, the Commander-in-Chief intro- 
duced the Defence Force Bill. Its provisions included 
voluntary enrolment for Indians of the non-martial 
and political classes. They were welcomed by Indian 
members of the Council. 

The Finance Member, Sir William Meyer, announced 
on March 1st that, in pursuance of two resolutions 
moved by Indian non-official members and carried in 
the Council on September 8th, 1914, and February 
24th, 1915, the Government of India had informed 
the Home Government of their willingness to borrow 
the largest sum that could be raised as a War Loan, to 
make a special contribution of 100,000,000 to the war, 
and to put forward proposals for increasing Indian re- 
sources in order to meet the consequent recurring 
liabilities. Sir William Meyer pointed out that this 
contribution amounted to nearly double the total Im- 
perial revenue as it stood before the war. He announced 
that one method of meeting the contribution would be 
the raising of the import on cotton fabrics from 3J to 
7J per cent., the general Indian tariff rate. But the 
cotton excise duty would remain 3| per cent. A 
grievance of twenty years' standing, 1 which had virtually 
meant protection in favour of Lancashire, was thus 
removed, and the removal was not effected without a 
strong and bitter protest from the Lancashire cotton 
trade. But the action of the Government of India was 
powerfully upheld by the then Secretary of State, Mr. 
Austen Chamberlain, both in replying to a deputation 
and in the House of Commons. It was finally agreed 

1 See page 53. 


there that the arrangement should stand, but should be 
subject to the review of the fiscal system of the whole 
Empire which would follow the war. Some passages 
from Mr. Chamberlain's reply to the Lancashire deputa- 
tion show how much depended and depends on a just 
settlement of this and similar questions. " Do not 
underrate the strength of Indian feeling on this ques- 
tion. You said : 'If indeed it was necessary to 
raise the Customs duty, why did not you also raise the 
excise ' ? Well, you have been satisfied for twenty 
years with the arrangements made by the late Lord 
Wolverhampton, and afterwards modified by Lord 
George Hamilton. For all those twenty years the 
settlement which you have found satisfactory has been 
an open sore in India. It is twenty years ago that 
Lord Lansdowne used words which were quoted in the 
debates of those times by Sir Henry Fowler, and I ven- 
ture to read them to you to-day, for, if they were true 
twenty years ago, they are of tenfold greater force and 
truth to-day. He said : ' There has never been a 
moment when it was more necessary to counteract the 
impression that our financial policy in India is dictated 
by selfish considerations. It is a gross libel to say, 
and I hope this is true to-day, that either of the great 
political parties of this country will for the sake of 
passing advantage deny to the people of India the fair 
play which they expect/ J 

Sir William Meyer's words regarding the raising of 
the cotton import duties were welcomed with warm 
enthusiasm, and his announcement of the 100,000,000 
loan was received with a single questioning murmur. 

In a speech which wound up the Sessions His Excel- 
lency the Viceroy invited non-official members to 
co-operate with the Government of India in organised 
efforts to stimulate industrial and agricultural develop- 


ment, reminding them of the unlimited possibilities of 
usefulness in these directions, and impressing on them 
the importance of securing a maximum response to the 
War Loan. He recommended the new Defence Force 
measures. He referred to the imposition of the extra 
duty on cotton goods, reminding them that the Home 
Government had decided that this would be considered 
afresh when the fiscal arrangements of the Empire were 
reviewed as a whole after the war, but stating that 
what had passed in England should inspire confidence 
that when that review took place, Indian interests would 
be stoutly defended. 

His Excellency further reminded the Council that, 
as a consequence of a recent communique, indentured 
emigration to Fiji and the West Indies, the only 
colonies for which the system had survived up to the 
war, was now at an end, and would probably not recom- 
mence. Free labour emigration to Ceylon and Malaya 
must be restricted by war exigencies. He announced 
that a Commission which had been appointed to in- 
quire into the educational problems presented by the 
Calcutta University would meet in the following 
November. He concluded by reading a message of 
gratitude from the Premier of the United Kingdom for 
India's financial contribution to the war. Thus closed 
a pleasant and harmonious session. 

The policy of the Government had been markedly 
conciliatory and the barometer seemed set fair. But 
the proceedings of the Imperial Legislative Council 
generally reflect the least turbid political moods. There 
are always persons busy outside whose unceasing object 
is to prevent the confidence and co-operation for which 
His Excellency had so earnestly appealed. On March 
5th he had received a deputation which asked for 
repeal of the Press Act, and his reply to this body ex- 


poses so clearly the slanders and misrepresentations 
with which his Government was wrestling, that I give 
its prominent passages in a separate appendix. 1 Un- 
fortunately the appeal with which it concluded fell on 
ears slow to hear. 

Dissatisfaction was expressed with the conditions for 
recruitment of Indians under the Defence Force Bill ; 
and for some time very few took advantage of the new 
opportunities offered. It had been announced that 
6,000 were required. Within the first two months after 
the passing of the Bill only 300 were enrolled. Then 
a further appeal was issued by Government acknow- 
ledging that the conditions were open in some respects 
to criticism, stating that the question of Commissions 
was under consideration, and promising sympathetic 
treatment to all who should come forward. The condi- 
tions were to some extent altered, and the period 
originally fixed for enrolment was extended. The later 
response to this call on the part of the educated com- 
munity was disappointing. 

In the meantime the Home Eule campaign, which 
had been appro^d by the Congress and Muslim League, 
continued under the leadership of Mrs. Besant. The 
arguments which she employed in pleading her cause 
were published in her paper New India. Their nature 
will be apparent further on. Their influence upon the 
political public and Press was assisted by various 
speeches and lectures. 

In June a communique was issued by the Govern- 
ment of Madras stating that, in the exercise of the 
powers given him under the Defence of India rules, the 
Governor in Council directed the service of orders on 
this lady and her two principal lieutenants, prohibiting 
them from attending or taking part in any meeting, or 

1 See Appendix IV. 


from delivering any lecture, from making any speech, 
and from publishing or procuring the publication of 
any writing or speech composed by them, placing their 
correspondence under censorship, and directing that 
after the expiry of a brief prescribed period, they should 
take up their residence in one of various specified 
healthy localities, ceasing to reside at and near the 
city of Madras. 

Mrs. Besant took leave of her public in a letter to 
the Press, describing herself as having been " drafted 
into the modern equivalent for the Middle Ages oub- 
liette." Her real crime was that she had awakened in 
India national self-respect. 

" Indian labour is wanted for the foreign firms. 
Indian capital is being drained away by the War Loan, 
which is to bring no freedom to India, if the autocracy 
has its way. Indian taxation to pay the interest on 
the War Loan will be crushing. When that comes, 
India will realise why I have striven for Home Rule 
after the war. Only by that can she be saved from 
ruin, from becoming a nation of coolies for the enrich- 
ment of others." 

It is possible and I have heard it asserted that the 
internment of Mrs. Besant would not have awakened 
the excitement which it did awaken among her friends 
and followers had it not followed on speeches by the 
provincial heads of the Punjab and Madras which had 
been directed towards allaying the excitement and 
moderating the expectations caused by the Home Rule 
propaganda. These speeches 1 were construed as herald- 
ing a course of repression, and it was represented that 
Mrs. Besant's internment was the first step on that 

1 See Appendix V for an extract from the speech by Sir Michael O'Dwyer. 


A non-official member of the Imperial Legislative 
Council announced in a Press interview : ' I take it 
she (Mrs. Besant) will be allowed to go on with her 
work. If she is exposed to suffering in that cause, 
thousands of Indians who have not been able to see 
eye to eye with her in all things will think it their duty 
to stand by her and to follow her." The same note 
was struck by many newspaper articles. An appeal 
was made to the Government of India to procure a 
reversal of the Madras orders ; and when this failed, 
a wide agitation followed among the political classes 
both in the Madras Presidency and elsewhere. " Passive 
resistance " even was proposed and discussed. And 
while the sentiment was sincere among those who 
genuinely shared Mrs. Besant's creed and were aware 
of her considerable gifts of money to Hindu interests, 
it is probable that numbers of persons attended meet- 
ings on the subject who knew and cared little or no- 
thing about Mrs. Besant and her proceedings. The 
issue of the Non-Brahman newspaper of Madras, dated 
July 15th, thus described some methods employed : 

' We can also assure the Government that Home 
Rule emissaries go about convening meetings and send- 
ing telegrams and cablegrams all round. It is this 
false nature of the agitation that detracts from its value. 
. . . But the newspaper accounts exaggerate, and 
there is the inevitable leading article." 

And yet what were the facts ? To what work had 
Mrs. Besant devoted her energies at a time when the 
Government by law established had particularly ap- 
pealed for loyal assistance from all classes ? 

What spirit had she expected to call forth from im- 
pressionable young India when she published the 
following passages referring to Indian revolutionaries ? 


' Desperate they broke away from all control of 
their elders, began to conspire, and numbers of them 
have conspired ever since. Some have been hanged ; 
some were sent to the living death of the Andaman 
Islands ; some were imprisoned here. Now the students 
watch with amazement the Premier of Great Britain 
rejoicing over the results of the similar action of young 
Russian men and women who conspired and blew up 
trains and assassinated a Tsar, and who are now ap- 
plauded as martyrs, and the still living of whom are 
being brought back in triumph to the Russia whose 
freedom they have made possible. The names which 
were execrated are held sacred and sufferings are 
crowned with triumph." l 

And again, when she published her article, " The 
Great Betrayal," a in the New India issue of May 
2nd, 1917, was her action calculated to promote loyal 

1 Extract from the issue of New India, dated May 23rd, 1917. 

* " That vote (at the Imperial War Conference) compels India to re- 
main a plantation, that which the East India Company made her, des- 
troying her indigenous manufactures to that end, the manufactures 
which had created her enormous wealth, the wealth which lured the 
Western nations to her shores. . . . The policy which reduced the Indian 
masses to poverty and brought about the Rebellion of 1857, consisted 
of keeping India as a reservoir of raw materials. . . . The Imperial Con- 
ference now proposes to continue the process, but to deprive India of the 
small advantage she possesses of selling her raw materials in the open 
European market, and thus obtaining a price fixed by the need of com- 
peting nations. She is to sell her cotton within the Empire at a price 
fixed to suit the colourless purchasers of England and the Dominions, 
fixed in a market controlled by them, fixed to give them the largest profit 
and reduce her to the lowest point. . . . She will be paid the lowest price 
which her necessities compel her to accept, and will become the wage- 
labourer, the wage-slave of the Empire. . . . Such is the great betrayal 
of India by the Government of India nominees, But they have made 
one thing clear. Unless the coming of Home Rule be hastened, so that 
India is freed before the great battle for Imperial preference is fought out, 
India will be ruined. The trio of Government delegates, in concert with 
the Secretary of State for India, have voted away all hope of India's 
industrial regeneration." 


support of the State in an hour of great need ? What 
had been the limitations imposed on her ? She had 
been asked to take her choice of several healthy places 
of residence, to desist from political activities, and to 
submit to restrictions on her correspondence. It is 
difficult to see how she was wronged by the action of 
the Madras Government. 

The internment of Mrs. Besant had been shortly 
preceded by the return from the Imperial War Con- 
ference in England of the delegates selected by the 
Government of India, His Highness the Maharaja of 
Bikaner, Sir James Meston, Lieutenant-Governor of 
the United Provinces, and Sir Satyendra Sinha, mem- 
ber of the Bengal Executive Council. For the first 
time a ruling prince and an Indian member of Council 
had " shared in the innermost deliberations of the 

The meaning and results of the occasion were ex- 
plained by Sir James Meston in an eloquent speech to 
his provincial legislative Council, which concluded with 
an appeal for political patience and an assurance that 
those who were directing the affairs of India were not 
hostile, but favourable to her advance toward greater 
freedom in her national life. 

Agitation, however, continued among the Home Rule 
Leaguers* and meetings were held in various towns. 
On August 2nd, however, a new direction was given 
to political meditations by two memorable pronounce- 
ments made by the Secretary of State for India. The 
first was to the following effect : 

" The policy of His Majesty's Government, with 
which the Government of India are in complete accord, 
is that of the increasing association of Indians in every 
branch of the administration and the gradual develop- 


ment of self-governing institutions with a view to the 
progressive realisation of responsible government in 
India as an integral part of the British Empire. They 
have decided that substantial steps in this direction 
should be taken as soon as possible, and that it is of 
the highest importance as a preliminary to considering 
what these steps should be that there should be a free 
and informal exchange of opinion between those in 
authority at home and in India. His Majesty's Govern- 
ment have accordingly decided, with His Majesty's 
approval, that I should accept the Viceroy's invitation 
to proceed to India to discuss these matters with the 
Viceroy and the Government of India, to consider with 
the Viceroy the views of local governments, and to 
receive with him the suggestions of representative 
bodies and others. 

" I would add that progress in this policy can only 
be achieved by successive stages. The British Govern- 
ment and the Government of India, on whom the 
responsibility lies for the welfare and advancement of 
the Indian peoples, must be judges of the time and 
measure of each advance, and they must be guided by 
the co-operation received from those upon whom new 
opportunities of service will thus be conferred and by 
the extent to which it is found that confidence can be 
reposed in their sense of responsibility. 

" Ample opportunity will be afforded for public 
discussion of the proposals which will be submitted in 
due course to Parliament." 

The second ran as follows : 

' The Secretary of State for India has announced in 
the House of Commons the decision of His Majesty's 
Government to remove the bar which has hitherto 
precluded the admission of Indians to commissioned 
rank in His Majesty's Army, and steps are accordingly 
being taken respecting the grant of commissions to nine 
Indian officers belonging to Native Indian Land Forces 


who have served in the field in the present war and 
whom the Government of India recommended for this 
honour in recognition of their services. Their names 
will be notified in the London Gazette, and in the same 
gazette they will be posted to the Indian Army. 

" The Secretary of State and the Government of 
India are discussing the general conditions under which 
Indians should in future be eligible for commissions. 
In due course the Army Council will be consulted with 
a view to the introduction of a carefully considered 
scheme to provide for the selection of candidates and 
for training them in important duties which will de- 
volve upon them." 1 

It is remarkable that these announcements had 
been shortly preceded by the death of Mr. Dadabhai 
Naoroji,' the veteran Indian politician, who had sat in 
the British Parliament and had done as much as any 
other man to achieve the result which had been at last 
obtained. The ideal so often put forward by the Con- 
gress had been accepted as practicable, and steps would 
be taken to secure its achievement. 

The September Sessions of the Imperial Legislative 
Council opened with a speech by His Excellency Lord 
Chelmsford, which carefully reviewed the work accom- 
plished by his Government, including a remarkable 
record of war activities and the efforts already made 
to meet political objectives. The Viceroy concluded 
with an earnest appeal to leading politicians for co- 
operation. The speech had been preceded by the 
announcement made by the Home Member of Council 
that the Government of India were prepared to recom- 
mend to the Madras Government the removal of restric- 
tions placed on Mrs. Besant and her coadjutors, if the 

1 On June 21st, 1918, the results of this consultation were announced. 
8 See Appendix VI. 


Government of India were satisfied that these persons 
would abstain from unconstitutional and violent 
methods of political agitation during the remainder of 
the war. In taking this course the Government of 
India were actuated by the confident hope that the 
recent announcement of His Majesty's Government 
and the approaching visit of Mr. Montagu would have 
such a tranquillising effect on the political situation as 
to ensure a calm and dispassionate consideration of the 
difficult problems which were to be investigated during 
his stay in this country. The Government of India 
were prepared, subject to the same conditions, to take 
the same course in regard to other persons upon whom 
restrictions had been placed under those rules merely 
by reason of their violent methods of political agitation. 

Both speech and announcement were well received 
by the political public, but before Mr. Montagu's arrival 
notable events occurred which sharply impressed on all 
concerned that there is another and a far larger public 
always present in India. Its needs may be elemental, 
but can at times become loudly clamorous. 

It is, after all, the India which pays by far the larger 
share of taxes. It is also an India with which we 
may hazard too much. 

Persons who observe the generally docile and law- 
abiding habits of the masses in India, are slow to realise 
that these same people can be worked up to an extra- 
ordinary pitch of fanatical fury, and that if captured by 
insidious appeals, especially appeals made in the name 
of religion, they are prone to act with unreasoning and 
brutal violence. Intensely credulous, they are also, if 
astutely approached, when they have reason to believe 
that the Government dare no longer restrain them, 
extremely excitable. The close of the year 1917 was 
marked by a rude reminder of the possibilities which 


this circumstance involves. A situation arose, and was 
later to arise even more abruptly in another part of 
India, for which the only immediate remedy was force 
applied in time by strong and resolute authority un- 
biased by any sectional influence. The story of the 
Arrah riots should be clearly understood by those who 
wish to form an idea of the emergencies for which 
Government in India must always be prepared. 

The area in which these disturbances occurred is the 
flat tract of the Patna division of Bihar which lies 
north of the Kaimur Hills, south of the Ganges and 
adjoining the eastern districts of the United Provinces. 
The western portion of this tract belongs to the Shaha- 
bad district, and the eastern portion belongs to the 
Patna and Gaya districts ; Arrah is the headquarters 
town of the Shahabad district. 

The tract is for the most part a stiff clay country 
covered with rice-fields and poorly endowed with means 
of communication. It is interspersed with a network 
of ditches, drains, and village channels. Rapid move- 
ment is impossible to persons unversed in local geo- 

The inhabitants are mainly Hindus, but there is also 
a considerable Muhammadan population. The Hindu 
landed proprietors there are extremely conservative, 
jealous of any agrarian measures or legislation that seem 
likely to lessen their powers over their tenants, and 
deeply imbued with the old Hindu reverence for the cow 
and aversion to all who sacrifice or slaughter that useful 
animal. In Shahabad alone of Bihar districts was there 
any indigenous rising during the Mutiny. Long after 
1857, Kuar Singh, a Rajput landlord of Jagdispur in 
Shahabad, waged war against the British Government 
in the very country which is the subject of the following 
narrative and in the eastern districts of the United 


Provinces. His exploits are well-remembered in Shaha- 
bad, and his family is present there. 

During the early nineties serious opposition was 
offered to cow-killing in the Patna division, and cul- 
minated in riots which spread into the Benares and 
Gorakhpur divisions of the United Provinces. The 
people of these parts in races and character largely re- 
semble their Bihar neighbours. The Bakr-Id Muham- 
madan festival of 1893, which was as usual celebrated 
by sacrifices of goats and cows, was signalised by the 
collection of mobs of Hindus organised with the inten- 
tion of forcibly putting an end to cow-killing. In some, 
but not in all, cases considerable provocation had been 
given by MuEammadans, and there can be no doubt 
that the riots which occurred resulted from a roughly 
organised Hindu movement. One of its manifestations 
was attacks on cattle which had been purchased in 
Bihar for Army Commissariat purposes. This violent 
agitation was repressed by the Government, and has 
since subsided in the United Provinces, but in Bihar 
it again became prominent in 1911, when various dis- 
turbances occurred in the Monghyr and Patna districts. 
In the latter disorderly mobs of low caste Hindus col- 
lected and prevented cow-sacrifices at various places. 
Similar disturbances occurred in 1912. Some of the 
riots were organised by Hindus of the higher castes. 
Strong police forces were quartered in the more dis- 
turbed areas, but in 1915 precautions were relaxed, with 
the result that on the Bakr-Id day a large armed Hindu 
mob appeared at a village named Kanchanpur, and 
declared their intention of forcibly preventing cow- 
sacrifice. The local authorities could only prevail on 
this force to disperse by persuading the Muhammadans 
of the village to sell their cows to the Hindus and to 
abandon their sacrifices. Emboldened by success, the 


mob on the following day plundered another village. 
Their successful defiance of law and order led to further 
outrages in the following year. Meetings were held at 
which riots were carefully organised, and although a 
large force of military police had been drafted into the 
Patna district before the Bakr-Id of 1916, an armed 
mob of about 5,000 Hindus, arrayed in rude formation, 
attacked the military police at Kanchanpur who were 
protecting the resident Muhammadans after the con- 
clusion of the sacrifices. The police were compelled to 
open fire, and several rioters were killed or wounded. 

A more serious riot occurred in another police circle. 
Eight thousand Hindus collected from forty villages 
and, besieging the village of Jadupur, which was held by 
police, seized cows intended for sacrifice and dispersed. 
In a few cases, too, Commissariat cattle were rescued. 
About 150 of the rioters were convicted and punished, 
but Hindu and Muhammadan feelings were deeply 
stirred throughout Bihar. Hindus had become familiar 
with organised attacks, which had achieved considerable 
success. They had seen reason to think that if they 
could terrorise Muhammadans and force them to desist 
from sacrificing cows, the Government would not inter- 
vene, provided that the public peace remained un- 

In 1917 careful precautions were taken, but no in- 
formation was received which pointed to the likelihood 
of disturbances in Shahabad, where there had been no 
anti-cow-killing riot for nearly a quarter of a century. 
Yet this district was to witness an outbreak beside 
which all the previous disturbances which we have men- 
tioned were insignificant trifles. Each of these con- 
sisted of a single riot at a single village, and on the con- 
clusion of the trouble the rioters dispersed to their 
homes. But the Shahabad or Arrah riots of 1917, 


many of which were equal in magnitude to any of the 
Patna riots, broke out simultaneously over the greater 
part of the district, and " to find any parallel to the 
state of turmoil and disorder that ensued, it is necessary 
to go back over a period of sixty years to the days of 
the great Mutiny." l 

The first outbreak was at Ibrahimpur, a village near 
Piru, a large bazar and a station on the light railway, 
twenty-five miles south of Arrah. Information had 
been received by the District officials at Arrah on Sep- 
tember 22nd of a Bakr-Id dispute, but this seemed 
to terminate in a compromise arranged between the 
parties by the good offices of the Muhammadan sub 
divisional officer and a local Hindu barrister land 
owner, the Muhammadans agreeing to sacrifice goats a 
well as cows, and the Hindus undertaking to provide th 
goats and make certain other concessions. In defianc 
of this compromise, on the morning of the 28th, a larg 
mob of Hindus attacked Ibrahimpur and two neigh- 
bouring villages where cow-sacrifice had till then been 
performed without dispute. They drove off cattle and 
goats belonging to Muhammadans and plundered houses. 
As the Hindus had thus grossly violated the terms of 
the compromise, the authorities allowed the Muham- 
madans of Ibrahimpur to perform the cow-sacrifices 
which they had originally consented to forgo, and 
the Hindus of the village acquiesced in the justice of 
this decision. The sacrifices were thus performed on 
the 29th, but in private, and with precautions to avoid 
wanton offence to Hindu feeling. 

On the morning of the 30th Ibrahimpur was at- 
tacked by a large Hindu mob, and houses were plun- 
dered before this mob was driven off by armed police, 

1 Resolution of the Government of Bihar and Orissa, dated June 
13th, 1918. 



who were on several occasions compelled to fire. On 
the same day extra police arrived under the Commis- 
sioner and the Deputy Inspector-General. Quiet was 
obtained for the time, but the air was full of alarming 
rumours, and the Muhammadans were in a state of 
terror. Two days later rioting began throughout a 
large tract of about forty miles square which passed 
into the hands of Hindu mobs. These attacked and 
plundered every Muhammadan house or village which 
they could reach. It was necessary to seek aid from 
the military, and British and Indian cavalry, in con- 
junction with British infantry, were pushed out in 
bodies to protect the affected villages. For some time 
riots continued, and Arrah itself was threatened with 
attack. In most cases the Muhammadans fled as the 
mobs approached, but in two villages, though hopelessly 
outnumbered, they offered a fierce resistance, beating 
off repeated attacks before they were finally over- 
powered. By October 7th 129 villages had been 
plundered in Shahabad, and it was only when troops 
had arrived in sufficient strength, and had established 
thirteen posts throughout the disturbed area which 
were connected by cavalry and motor-car patrols along 
the main roads, that the rioting ceased. Even then the 
country remained for some time in a state of ferment. 
The disturbances, too, spread to Gaya, where between 
October 8th and 13th over thirty villages were plun- 

During the days of mob-ascendancy, those Muham- 
madans who could not reach secure shelter were exposed 
to sufferings which it is unnecessary to detail here. 
They are set forth in the judgments of the Commis- 
sioners who tried the cases arising from the attacks on 
various villages. 

Six days elapsed before the local officers were able 


to get complete control of the situation. The police 
forces at their disposal were entirely inadequate, and 
the military forces within easy reach consisted only of 
one weak garrison. Troops from more distant places 
were only obtained with delay and in detachments. 
The wide area and indifferent communications of the 
tract concerned made it difficult to move the soldiers. 
But the rioters, on the other hand, moved freely about 
over narrow embankments between the waterlogged 
fields, and generally melted away on the approach of 
the troops, only to collect again at a safe distance and 
loot fresh villages. They took good care to disperse at 
once whenever the military appeared, and thus avoided 
being fired at. 

All the time the Muhammadans of Patna and Gaya 
were in a condition little short of panic ; and there can 
be no doubt that further continuance of the riots would 
have set the whole of Bihar ablaze and seriously affected 
the eastern districts of the United Provinces. 

The disturbances had been organised with great care 
and skill. The religious dispute in Ibrahimpur, which 
was subsequently adduced as their cause, had been 
amicably settled, and nowhere had the Muhammadans 
offered any provocation. Numerous snowball letters 
inciting Hindus to loot certain villages on fixed dates 
came to light, and in many cases there was evidence 
that bands of rioters were operating on a definite plan. 
They had evidently been instructed as to the lengths 
to which they were to go. Murder was not committed 
except in overcoming resistance. Damage to Govern- 
ment property was avoided except in a few cases where 
the telegraph wires were cut so as to hamper the trans- 
mission of intelligence. Although the area concerned 
contains many post offices, canal headquarters, and 
other places where Government money was kept, these 


were left untouched. The object of the organisers 
appears to have been to convince the authorities that 
the movement was purely religious and anti-Muharn- 
madan. According to a statement made by a con- 
victed rioter, their plans were carefully elaborated. 
Their following was assured by the welding potency of 
the call to protect the cows, which appeals most strongly 
to all Hindus, and especially to those of the higher 
castes. The rioters apparently believed that they could 
deal such a blow at the Muhammadans as to finally 
end cow-sacrifice. They had been captured by war- 
unrest, and had imbibed the idea that the moment 
was opportune because British rule had sunk into 
weakness and decline. A perusal of some of the snow- 
ball leaflets shows that assurance was given therein of 
German and Bengali succour. The rioters of Piru 
attacked with cries of " British rule is gone/' and at 
first believed that no troops were available to suppress 
them. When the troops arrived, it was rumoured that 
they had no ammunition or had been forbidden to fire. 
The brutalities practised on the unfortunate victims 
of these riots were the theme of indignation meetings 
in many mosques in northern India, and collections 
were made in aid of the sufferers wherever there were 
Muhammadans. The organisers of many meetings 
came from classes which from indifference and fear of 
controversy had hitherto remained silent in politics. 
They expressed a deep and widespread sentiment. 
Relations between the two great communities were 
tense and uneasy throughout the concurrent Ram 
Lila and Muharram festivals in many districts of the 
neighbouring United Provinces. Serious disturbances 
occurred at three well-known places. 



THE object of Mr. Montagu's visit was to determine, 
on the spot and in consultation with the Viceroy, what 
steps should be taken in the direction of establishing 
in India government responsible to the peoples of the 
various provinces. The London Cabinet recognised that 
such establishment must be gradual, that progress to- 
wards it could be satisfactorily effected only by stages ; 
but they considered that no time should be lost in 
making substantial steps toward the goal. What these 
substantial steps should be was the problem ; but it 
was desired that a considerable advance should be made 
on the Minto-Morley Reforms which had been in opera- 
tion for eight years only. 

Mr. Montagu and his party arrived in India late in 
the year 1917, and after preliminary conferences with 
the Government of India and heads of provinces at 
Delhi, they toured to Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. 
They were accompanied by the Viceroy and the Home 
Member of His Excellency's Executive Council, and 
everywhere consulted leading non-officials and officials. 
On the conclusion of the tour, further consultations 
were held, and it was not until near the end of April 
that the Secretary of State and his party returned to 

The tour attracted universal attention. The Euro- 
pean non-officials and other communities had appointed 


representative councils to draw up petitions for the 
protection of their interests. Addresses were presented 
by numerous associations ; the landlords, the depressed 
classes, the Deccan Ryots, the Indian Christians, and 
many other sections of an enormous population claimed 
earnestly that in the new era that was dawning their 
peculiar interests might be duly safeguarded and not 
left to the unfettered arbitration of any numerical 

The Congress and the Muslim League urged the adop- 
tion of a constitution which would embody the pro- 
visions framed at their meetings of 1916. In Decem- 
ber both bodies assembled at Calcutta. Mrs. Besant 
presided over the Congress, which was described by a 
leading Indian paper as " the Congress of Mrs. Besant 
and Mr. Tilak, of Mrs. Besant more than Mr. Tilak." 

The attendance was large ; but the Moderates were 
becoming surfeited with the dominant political powers, 
and the Muhammadans were establishing dissenting 
Muslim associations. 

The British reverses in France arrested the attention 
of the country ; and in April the Viceroy, at the in- 
stance of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 
summoned the ruling chiefs and the leading non-official 
representatives of British India to a conference at 
Delhi. The object was to arrange that all possible assis- 
tance, in the shape of men, money, and supplies, should 
be given to the cause of the Allies at an hour of supreme 

Sub-committees were appointed to devise ways and 
means, and speeches were delivered which breathed a 
spirit of energetic loyalty to the British Crown. Oppor- 
tunity, however, was taken by the Honourable Mr. 
Khaparde, a member of the Imperial Legislative Council 
and of the Home Rule League, to bring forward a 


resolution recommending to the British Government 
immediate introduction into Parliament of a Bill 
" meeting the demands of the people to establish re- 
sponsible government in India within a reasonable and 
specified period." The Conference was also to advise 
the immediate removal of all racial distinctions. 

This resolution was disallowed by the Viceroy as 
foreign to the purpose of the Conference. 

Among various eloquent utterances on a great occa- 
sion, those of His Highness the Maharaja of Ulwar and 
of the late Mr. Ironside, the representative of the Cal- 
cutta Chamber of Commerce, were particularly memor- 
able. 1 

Conferences were also held at provincial centres. A 
great impulse was given to war-efforts of all kinds, 
especially to recruiting, which made remarkable pro- 
gress in the United Provinces and the Punjab ; but 
simultaneously it became increasingly clear that some 
elements of Indian society were bent on turning the 
difficulties of the hour to political advantage. On 
June 10th, at the Bombay Provincial War Con- 
ference, the Governor, H.E. Lord Willingdon declared 
that certain gentlemen, many of whom were connected 
with the Home Rule League, had not only not given the 
help to Government which it was fairly entitled to 
expect from them in such critical times, but had even 
endeavoured to increase its difficulties and embarrass- 
ment wherever and whenever they could. 

His Excellency refused to allow Mr. B. G. Tilak and 
another Home Rule leader to offer observations which 
he characterised as political, although these gentlemen 
asserted that they and their League were loyal to the 
King-Emperor. Three of their sympathisers left the 
hall. The Conference, however, passed, with acclama- 

1 See Appendix VIII (a) and (*>). 


tion, a resolution authorising the Governor to convey 
to His Majesty an assurance of the determination of 
the Bombay Presidency to continue to do her duty to 
her utmost capacity in the great crisis through which 
the Empire was passing. 

On June 16th Home Rule day was celebrated at 
Madras. That date was selected as it was the anni- 
versary of the internment of Mrs. Besant and her lieu- 
tenants. The meeting was presided over by Sir 
Subramania Aiyar, who had once been a judge of the 
Madras High Court, but had later earned fame as the 
author of a letter to President Wilson which described 
India as a subject-nation held in chains, forbidden by 
alien rulers to express publicly her desire for the ideals 
proclaimed in the President's famous war message. 1 
The meeting was addressed by the chairman, who advo- 
cated " passive resistance " as a constitutional method 
of enforcing the claim for Home Rule. Agitation, he 
said, was not enough. What was required was a pro- 
mise of Home Rule at a definite period. Mrs. Besant, 
who was present, protested against the " insult " 
levelled against members of the Home Rule League by 
the Governor of Bombay, and stated that the share of 
India in the Empire was the giving of men and money. 
How could Indians be asked to fight for a liberty in 
which they would not share ? Life without liberty was 
a poor and contemptible thing. 

All these proceedings were repugnant to reasonable 
politicians who were disposed to do their best as 
loyal citizens, but found themselves frequently pushed 
aside. Passages in newspapers from time to time ex- 
pressed their sentiments. These are best illustrated by 
a quotation : 

" In nearly al] parts of India where political life is 

1 See page 36. 


earnest, certain persons have of late been preaching a 
crusade against the older leaders. The younger Con- 
gressmen have been made to believe that, if only they 
crippled these and laid them on the shelf, the principal 
obstacle in the way of India's progress would be re- 
moved. We do not grudge the new leaders their suc- 
cess. Far be it from us to do so. But it is much to be 
wished that their success was attained by methods 
which left the young heart pure and tender and chival- 
rous, and which did not rob it of the rare jewel of ancient 
Indian culture, the quality of reverence. The reno- 
vated polity of the future cannot lose it except at its 
peril/' Servant of India. 

A stronger protest appeared in the Times of India 
from Mr. N. Tilak, a cousin of Mr. B. G. Tilak and an 
ex-member of the Home Rule League, who wrote as 
follows : 

" One characteristic difference between the two 
parties of Indian politicians, the Extremists and the 
Moderates, is that while the former have little faith in 
the sincerity of Government, the very fact of Govern- 
ment sincerity is the great hope of the latter. ' With 
what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with 
what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you 
again.' The cardinal fact in the whole situation is that 
the Home Rule Leaguers have not yet realised their 
country's vital relation to the war. They are blind to 
the all-important fact that the time has already come 
to prepare seriously for the defence of their own country. 
Consequently they are under the delusion that what- 
ever is done by the Indian people to help the cause of 
the Allies is done by way of obliging the British Govern- 
ment. The question with them is thus whether their 
countrymen should oblige Government or should re- 
ceive in advance the price of the service they render for 
Government. To yield to so utter and so grave a mis- 
understanding of the whole situation would be the 


greatest possible danger to India in this critical hour. 
In expressing his opinion of the Home Rulers I think 
His Excellency the Governor meant this and nothing 

' We here in India are not sufficiently aware of the 
gravity of the situation, a complete knowledge of which 
would surely be enough to make us lay aside all petty 
considerations, bury deep all differences, and place our- 
selves and our resources at the disposal of our defenders 
without the least reserve and absolutely unconditionally. 
If the worst fears are realised with the Home Rulers 
having done nothing save raise their party cry, it will 
then not be Government so much as we, the Home 
Rulers' fellow-citizens, who will pronounce them to be 
India's worst enemies. The changed times give us a 
very clear message, which is that we should forget 
every self-centred problem and, summing up all the 
powers we possess, stand by our Government loyally 
and heroically. Times like these are simply putting us 
to the test, whether we are really fit for Home Rule, 
and, if we are fit, then to what extent. This great ques- 
tion of our fitness will be decided not by our own 
opinions, still less by our party creeds, but by the 
opinion of those British people who are determined to 
fight for victory till their last drop of blood is spilt and 
by the whole civilised world, which has become Britain's 
comrade in this war for justice, equity, and liberty. To 
secure the good opinion of liberty-loving Britain and 
the world we must rise above the turmoil of political 
agitation which at present rules our hearts." 

Mr. Tilak added that he did not wish to be understood 
to mean that India did not look for any form of self- 
government. What was certain, however, was that the 
vast bulk of the Indian people did not want the Home 
Rule proposed by the Extremists. 

" It is indeed," he said, " an extremely difficult hour 


for those high-souled Brahmans, who, abhorring the 
course proposed by the Extremists in politics, are 
genuinely loyal to their country and their king. As 
for the non-Brahmans, they have only one idea, one 
purpose, one goal, and that is the safety, permanence, 
and continuity of British rule in India." 

The intemperate political tendencies of the hour were 
further rebuked by a person who has since become 
conspicuous in a less happy connection. His ante- 
cedents had been remarkable. 

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is now an elderly 
man, and belongs to the Hindu Vaishya or merchant 
caste. He is a native of Guzerat, in the presidency of 
Bombay, and has been called to the English Bar. Keturn- 
ing to India, he began to practise in the Bombay High 
Court, and was retained by a firm of his native town 
Purbandar to conduct a lawsuit in Natal. | 

While in South Africa l his sympathies were stirred by 
the disabilities suffered by his countrymen there, both 
indentured labourers and others. 

He initiated strong protests, and in 1896 visited 
India, but returned to South Africa and assisted to 
organise Indian ambulances during the Boer War. 
Afterwards he enrolled himself as an advocate of the 
Supreme Court of Pretoria, arranging also for the pur- 
chase of a press and the starting of a newspaper. In 
1906 the Government of the Transvaal enacted a law 
which required all Asiatics to register by means of 
thumb-impressions. The object was to prevent un- 
lawful immigration. This law was stubbornly opposed 
by Mr. Gandhi and his followers on the ground that it 
degraded them. They combated its operation by 

1 I have taken the incidents of Mr. Gandhi's South African career 
from the only source available to me, a book called Heroes of the Hour, 
published by Ganesh & Co. of Madras. 


passive resistance, refusing to register ; and Mr. Gandhi 
himself underwent two short terms of imprisonment. 
The struggle, which lasted some time, excited the 
keen sympathy of educated India ; and when in March 
1912 Mr. Gokhale moved in the Imperial Legislative 
Council for the abolition of indentured emigration to 
Natal, the resolution was accepted by Government. 
After the accomplishment of the Union of South Africa, 
the British Cabinet, at the instance of the Government 
of India, endeavoured to procure repeal of the regis- 
tration law ; but repeal, when it came, was followed by 
the passing of an Immigration Act which was repug- 
nant to Mr. Gandhi and his followers. At their invita- 
tion, and with the approval of the Home Government, 
Mr. Gokhale visited South Africa, but agitation con- 
tinued for the removal of certain disabilities. 

Another big effort of passive resistance and a strike 
of Indian labourers in the coal mines of Natal excited 
renewed sympathy in India, which was expressed by 
the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, in a public speech. A 
Commission of Enquiry was appointed, and resulted in 
the removal of an obnoxious tax and other grievances. 

Mr. Gandhi returned to India with a considerable 
reputation, and began to interest himself in affairs there. 
He first interfered in disputes between the indigo 
planters of Bihar and their tenants, championing the 
cause of the latter, and serving on the Commission ap- 
pointed by Government to investigate their complaints. 
He then took up the case of the revenue-payers of 
the Kaira district of Bombay, who complained that 
the Government demand was too rigorous in view of 

His history gave him a unique position among the 
political classes, and latterly he had acquired a reputa- 
tion among some persons of humbler position. To all 


he preached the doctrine that satya griha (insistence on 
truth, popularly translated as passive resistance) would 
conquer all difficulties. He was invited to and attended 
the Delhi War Conference. There he spoke briefly in 
favour of the loyal resolution moved by the Gaekwar 
of Baroda. 

Now also, appealing to the Kaira people in whose 
affairs he had recently shown interest, he urged them 
to qualify themselves for Home Rule by helping the 
Empire. Again, at a Home Rule meeting convened in 
Bombay in order to protest against Lord Willingdon's 
speech of June 10th, he advised unconditional co- 
operation with Government on the part of educated 
India as more likely than anything else to bring Home 
Rule in sight. 

The above criticisms and appeals did not affect the 
Extremist attitude ; and when, on July 8th, the 
Reforms Report was published, the scheme which it 
proposed was promptly condemned by Extremist poli- 
ticians and newspapers as inadequate and disappointing. 
The Moderates, however, welcomed this scheme, al- 
though they proposed to ask for some alterations ; and 
as the Extremists persisted in their attitude of disdain, 
the Moderate leaders decided not to attend the special 
Congress arranged for discussion of the proposals, and 
resolved to call a subsequent conference of their own. 
Before, however, proceeding further with this narrative, 
it is desirable to give some account of the Reforms 
proposals. The Report was in two parts, the first 
headed " the material," and the second headed " the 

The first part was a fine exposition of the situation ; 
but interest, as was natural, mainly settled on the 
second part. 

The most important proposal was the provision for 


the major provinces of India (excluding Burma) of 
dyarchies or governments consisting of two wings, the 
first composed of a governor and two executive coun- 
cillors, an Indian and a British official, appointed by 
the Crown, the second composed of a minister or minis- 
ters nominated by the Governor from among the elected 
members of the provincial Legislative Council and 
holding office for the term of the council concerned. 

The Governor and Executive Councillors were to hold 
charge of the major or essential departments. These 
would be called " reserved." 

The minister or ministers would take charge of other 
departments. These would be termed " transferred." 
The Government, thus constituted, would deliberate 
generally as a whole, but the Governor would have 
power to summon either wing for separate deliberation. 

Decisions on the reserved subjects, and supplies for 
them in the provincial budget, would rest with the 
Governor and his Executive Council ; decisions on and 
supplies for the transferred subjects would rest with 
the Governor and the ministers. The Governor was 
not to be in a position to refuse assent at discretion to 
the proposals of ministers. He was to be guided by 
an instrument of instructions issued to him on appoint- 
ment by the Secretary of State in Council, or by the 
Secretary of State should the Council of the Secretary 
of State fail to survive reform. The Governor was, 
however, to advise his ministers, and could refuse assent 
to their decisions " when the consequences of acquies- 
cence would clearly be serious." 

Distinction between " reserved " and " transferred " 
departments would be drawn by a committee which 
would be appointed for inquiry into and report on this 
difficult question. The guiding principle should be 
" to include in the transferred list those departments 


which afford most opportunity for local knowledge 
and social service, those in which Indians have shown 
themselves to be keenly interested, those in which mis- 
takes that occur, though serious, would not be irremedi- 
able, and those which stand most in need of develop- 

Provincial legislatures would be greatly enlarged and 
would contain substantial elected majorities. Election 
was to be on as broad a basis as possible, for the authors 
of the scheme did not intend that the result of their 
labours should be to " transfer powers from a bureau- 
cracy to an oligarchy." The franchise and the com- 
position of the various Legislative Councils would be 
determined by regulations to be framed on the advice 
of a committee to be hereafter specially appointed. 

The provincial Governor was to be able to certify 
that a bill dealing with a reserved subject was essential 
for the peace or tranquillity of the province or for dis- 
charge of his responsibility for reserved subjects. The 
bill would then be referred to a Grand Committee of the 
Legislative Council, of which the Governor might 
nominate a bare majority. The bill as passed by the 
Grand Committee might again be discussed by the 
Legislative Council, but could neither be rejected nor 
amended except on the motion of a member of the 
Executive Council. 

All provincial legislation would require the assent of 
the Governor and Governor-General, and would be sub- 
ject to disallowance by His Majesty. The Governor 
could reserve provincial laws for the royal assent. 

The annual budget would be laid before the Legisla- 
tive Council. If the Council refused to accept the 
proposals for reserved subjects, the Governor-in-Council 
would have power to restore the whole, or any part, on 
the Governor's certifying that, for reasons to be stated, 


such restoration was essential either to the peace or 
tranquillity of the province or any part thereof, or to 
the discharge of his responsibility for reserved subjects. 
Except in so far as he exercised this power, the budget 
would be framed so as to give effect to resolutions of 
the Legislative Council. Standing committees of the 
Legislative Council were to be attached to all depart- 
ments. Resolutions of the Council (except on the 
budget) would only have effect as recommendations. 

Thus the system would imply arrangements by which 
one half of the provincial Government had independent 
charge of " reserved " subjects, the land revenue, the 
police, law and order, etc. Its policy in administering 
these departments would be ultimately one of which 
the British Parliament had approved. The other half 
of the Government would be in independent charge of 
" transferred " subjects, local self-government, medical 
and sanitary work, vernacular education, etc., its 
policy in regard to which would be one dictated by the 
provincial Legislative Council. Association was, of 
course, desirable between the two halves of the Govern- 
ment in so far as this was practicable without obscuring 
the responsibility of each half for taking its own deci- 
sions and for abiding by the consequences. The 
Governor, the Public Services, a common Treasury and 
Audit, would be the links between the two halves of 
these provincial Governments. 

The entire field of provincial administration would 
be marked off from that of the Government of India 
which would preserve indisputable authority on matters 
adjudged by it to be essential for the discharge of its 
responsibilities for peace, order, and good government. 
As the popular element of the provincial Government 
acquired experience, transferred subjects would be 
added to and reserved subjects would be transferred 


until no reserved subjects remained, the need for an 
official element in the Government vanished, and the 
goal of complete responsible government was attained. 
Such transfers would be admissible at intervals of five 
years, when they might be considered on application 
from a provincial Government or provincial Legislative 

In the Government of India there was to be no 
dyarchy,but the Indian element in the Viceroy's Execu- 
tive Council was to be increased. 

The Legislative Council was to be replaced by a 
Legislative Assembly and a Council of State. The 
former would consist of about 100 members, and would 
be the popular body. The latter would consist of fifty 
members, exclusive of the Viceroy, who would be Presi- 
dent with power to nominate a Vice-President. Not 
more than twentv-five members of this Council would 


be officials, but twenty-nine would be nominees of the 
President. The President of the Legislative Assembly 
would be nominated by the Viceroy. The Council of 
State would act as a second chamber. It would be 
possible on emergency to pass a bill through the Council 
of State in the first instance, merely reporting it to the 
Legislative Assembly. Ordinarily, bills would go first 
to the latter body. If passed, they would go on to the 
Council of State. If amended there, they would be 
laid before a joint session of both houses, unless the 
Governor-General in Council was prepared to certify 
that the amendments were essential to the interests of 
peace, order, and good government, including sound 
financial administration, in which case the Assembly 
would not have power to reject or modify such amend- 
ments. Resolutions of either the Council of State 
or Legislative Assembly would only have effect as 
recommendations. A council of Ruling Princes was 



to be established, and would be able to deliberate 
with the Council of State on matters of common 

Racial bars that still existed in regulations for the 
public services were to be abolished. In addition to 
recruitment in England where such existed, a system 
of appointment in India to all the public services was 
to be established. Percentages of recruitment in India, 
with definite ratios of increase, were to be fixed for all 
the services. 

In the Indian Civil Service the percentage would be 
33 per cent, of the superior posts, increasing annually 
by 1J per cent, until the position was reviewed by a 
Commission appointed by Parliament. Such a Com- 
mission would be appointed ten years after the first 
meetings of the new legislative bodies in order to ex- 
amine the constitutional position both in the Govern- 
.' ment of India and in the Provinces. Similar Commis- 
' sions would be subsequently appointed at intervals of 
not more than ten years. 

The authors of the report expressed the view that 
" so far in the future as any man can foresee, a strong 
element of Europeans would be required in the public 
services/' The continued presence of the British officer 
was vital, if the Indian people were to be made self- 

The authors very strongly condemned communal 
electorates as a very serious hindrance to the develop- 
ment of the self-governing principle. They would con- 
cede them, however, to the Muhammadans in provinces 
where the latter are in a minority, and to the Sikhs. 
In the case of the Muhammadans, they felt themselves 
bound by previous pledges. The Sikhs are everywhere 
in a minority, but supply a very valuable element in 
the Army. 


The following principles underlie the main proposals 
above detailed : 

(a) Indians must be educated and stirred into becom- 
ing a nation. 

The present ideal of a small class must be generally 
adopted. It should be lifted up and held in front of 
all classes, races, and languages. It should draw all. 
The masses, who from the earliest ages had been absorbed 
entirely in their private affairs, and accepted ruler after 
ruler provided that he was strong enough to govern 
and protect them, must be educated into taking a share 
in a system of parliamentary government. The address 
to the Viceroy and the Secretary of State from the 
Deccan Ryots had described the sole purposes of 
ordinary persons of the tenant class to be " commerce, 
agriculture, menial service, and so on/' If we add to 
these purposes attendance on religious fairs and occasional 
litigation, the description is complete. The authors 
of the Reforms scheme decided that contentment with 
such a limited horizon was pathetic, and must be dis- 
turbed in order that nationhood within the Empire 
might be achieved. 

(b) The required goal must be achieved by pre- 
arranged measured stages. Every five years proposals 
would be admissible for the transfer of some Government 
department to the direction of a minister. Every ten 
years a Commission from England would see how 
things were going, and, if they were satisfactory, would 
presumably recommend a further advance. 

The proposal for five years' transfer was abandoned 
subsequently. The whole idea that it is a promising 
arrangement to transfer departments of government 
in India to popular control by measured stages was 
entirely novel. 

(c) From the very first, Government responsible to 


the various legislatures would be conceded to a defin- 
itely marked extent. The object was to give the elec- 
torates which would now be created and their leaders 
a genuine sense of responsibility. To secure this, the 
responsibility would be clear-cut and unmistakable. 

The adoption of the first two principles clearly in- 
volved the undertaking of a very difficult and critical 
enterprise, the results of which cannot be foreseen. The 
last objective is obviously desirable, provided that it 
can be attained without damaging the ability of the 
British Government to secure order, progress and 
content in India. The Keport did not notice the 
obstacle which the nature of the Hindu religions and 
social system offers to the establishment of democratic 
government. Nationalists talk as if this obstacle did 
not exist. But it does exist in a very solid form, al- 
though it is a delicate matter for discussion in a pub- 
lished Government Report. The marked ascendancy 
which it confers on the Brahman is the reason for the 
strong desire of non-Brahmans in Madras for separate 
communal representation. Theirs is by no means the 
only community that craves this privilege. In fact, it 
may be said that if the scheme of reform insists on 
representative government without some degree of 
communal representation, it will in actual working be 
far from agreeable to large bodies of the population of 
India. Whatever may be the case in the future, at 
present the great majority are accustomed to regard 
themselves as members of such and such a community, 
sect, or faith, and if they are to learn to think differ- 
ently, they should not be hurried. Widely diffused 
education and not abrupt intervention is the real 

The authors invited reasoned criticism, official and 
non-official. The proposals would be examined by the 


Local Governments, who had not seen them in their 
matured form. This examination ended in a con- 
demnation of dyarchy by the large majority of Local 
Governments. Five heads of provinces proposed an 
alternative plan for unified government with an official 
majority of a Governor and two Executive Councillors 
(one an Indian) against two ministers. The ministers 
would not exercise the separate clear-cut responsibility 
in certain departments contemplated by dyarchy, but 
would exercise a joint responsibility in all departments. 
Eeasoned criticism of the Montagu-Chelmsford pro- 
posals took time to mature. But two noteworthy mani- 
festos appeared with little delay. The first was a 
pronouncement issued by the Bengal Moderates, the 
text of which contained the following passages : 

' Till a few days ago it looked as though the two 
schools of political thought in the country might yet 
come together in compromise, and that a united Con- 
gress could consider and pronounce a verdict on the 
official proposals of reform. The cry of total rejection 
with which they were greeted in some quarters on 
publication weakened somewhat after a few weeks were 
over, and a general disposition to consider details and 
offer specific criticisms manifested itself. Unfortu- 
nately, however, it has become apparent from writings 
in certain organs of the " home rule " press, manifestos 
issued here and there by that party, and the proceedings 
of the conferences held in various provinces within the 
last few weeks, that their attitude is still hostile. Dis- 
appointment and dissatisfaction are the notes invari- 
ably struck ; the ideals that responsible government 
should be introduced at the very start and widened by 
successive stages, embodied in the Imperial Cabinet's 
declaration of August last, are unheeded if not expressly 
set aside ; and the modifications demanded amount to 
a practical rejection of the official scheme in funda- 
mentals. We are constrained to say, therefore, that 


the Extremist attitude is still one of rejection though 
thinly disguised. To make good this criticism, it is 
necessary to examine at some length the manifesto 
signed by Mrs. Besant and several other persons in 
different parts of the country and the resolutions passed 
by the recent Madras special provincial conference. 
To those who have watched how the Home Rule Leagues 
and their branches have captured the various Provincial 
Congress Committees in the country and the All-India 
Congress Committee, there is now little reason to doubt 
that the Special Congress to be held in Bombay will 
repeat, with perhaps a few alterations, the resolutions 
of the Madras conference. 

" The speeches of the Chairman of the Reception Com- 
mittee, and of the President of the special session of 
the Madras Provincial Conference, held early this month, 
clearly indicate the spirit in which the reform scheme is 
looked upon by the Extremist Party. Mrs. Besant has 
chosen to characterise the scheme as ' leading to a line 
beyond which its authors cannot go a perpetual slavery 
which can only be broken by a revolution/ Mr. Vijay- 
raghava Chariar described the scheme from the chair 
of the Conference as ' a monster fondling of Round 
Table politicians/ and the attempt to secure support for 
such a contrivance as ' simply ludicrous, if not dis- 

" Now there is good reason to believe that Moderate 
views are held by much larger numbers than generally 
appear on the surface. But the very nature of their 
views disposes them as a class to be more acquiescent 
and less demonstrative than the others. If a referen- 
dum could be taken on the subject of the official scheme 
of reforms, not only among those who habitually give 
vocal expression to their political thoughts, but among 
all in the country who may be brought to form intelli- 
gent opinions on the issues involved, it is not improb- 
able that the majority would be found to be on our 


side. However that be, owing to the activity, as has 
already been mentioned, of the Home Rule Leagues 
and their branches, it is certain that in all Congress 
organisations we have been reduced to a minority." 

For all these reasons they decided not to attend the 
special Congress to be held in order to discuss the 

The second notable manifesto was a statement issued 
by the Secretary of the European Association on behalf 
of his Council. 

" Until," he wrote, " it can be roughly ascertained 
what proportion the potential electors bear to the whole 
population, on what classes of subjects the electorate 
is tolerably qualified by education and the sense of the 
public good to pronounce, and in what spirit the elec- 
torate may be expected to deal (a) with special Euro- 
pean interests in India and (6) with those of classes too 
backward to share in the franchise until all this can 
be ascertained with some approach to accuracy, it is 
impossible to say dogmatically what powers can be 
entrusted to the representatives of the electorate. The 
eminent authors of the report, however, have left the 
whole question of an electorate to be settled by a com- 
mittee to be appointed hereafter. In these circum- 
stances the Council of the European Association must 
express itself with some reserve on the essentials of the 

' The Council has been struck in perusing the report 
by the failure of Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford to 
realise the importance of the European non-official 
community in India. In many passages of the report 
it is tacitly assumed that the European official and the 
Indian non-official are the only parties to any political 
settlement, and when the report does expressly refer to 
the European non-official community, as in paragraph 


344, it is mainly to offer some respectable platitudes for 

' The Council of the European Association is em- 
phatically of opinion that European non- officials are 
entitled to substantial representation as a community 
in the Provincial and Imperial Legislatures in addition 
to the representation already given through Chambers 
of Commerce, Trades Associations and Planters' Associa- 
tions. Representatives of those specialised bodies 
naturally cannot receive any general political mandate 
from their constituents, and that is a strong reason for 
according an adequate measure of communal represen- 
tation to Europeans. But there is a further reason 
in the fact that so long as representation is merely 
through a Chamber of Commerce and sectional bodies, 
a considerable number of Europeans engaged in the 
legal, medical, journalistic, and other professions, or resi- 
dent where specialised bodies do not exist, are denied 
all representation. 

" The hostility of the report towards communal repre- 
sentation for Indians, other than Muhammadans, and 
in the Punjab Sikhs, appears to the Council to be with- 
out justification. Nationhood can never be achieved by 
placing minorities or a backward majority under the 
heel of a clique excessively intolerant in social relations 
and avid of political power. And even if it were other- 
wise, the problematic future blessing of nationhood 
would not compensate the Indian masses for their suffer- 
ing during the transitional period. Immense differ- 
ences exist between various sections of the population 
in race, religion, culture, tradition, and vocational bent, 
and practical recognition of these differences is a con- 
dition of success in any political development. To 
initiate representative Government by means which 
deny representation to many classes of the population 
is inconsistent. Communal representation may not be 
equally necessary in all provinces, and it may not be 
permanently needed, but at any rate in the early years 
of the experiment it is essential. For if minorities 


and backward classes are thrown back on nomin- 
ated representation, how are they ever to acquire 
the capacity for the use of the franchise which 
the authors of the report desire to evoke ? . . . 
European opinion and sober Indian opinion may 
be prepared to support a marked increase in Indian 
control over policy if the execution of policy remains 
largely or very largely in British hands. On the other 
hand, European opinion and sober Indian opinion may 
be willing to support a rapid increase in the Indian 
element in the public services if the inspiration of the 
policy remains mainly British. But to effect these 
changes simultaneously, to alter hastily the racial com- 
position of the public services, and to do this as if each 
of the changes could be rightly decided upon without 
reference to the other, is not statesmanship." 

Shortly after the publication of the Reforms Scheme, 
a report of a different nature was published in India. 

At the instance of the Government of Bengal, who 
were much concerned at the difficulties encountered in 
coping with revolutionary crime in their province, the 
Government of India, with the authority of the Secre- 
tary of State, had appointed a committee of five : 

' To investigate and report on the nature and extent 
of the criminal conspiracies connected with the revo- 
lutionary movement in India ; 

' To examine and consider the difficulties that had 
arisen in dealing with such conspiracies, and to advise 
as to the legislation, if any, necessary to enable Govern- 
ment to deal effectively with them." 

The President of the Committee was the Honourable 
Mr. Justice Rowlatt of the King's Bench ; the members 
were the Honourable Sir Basil Scott, Chief Justice of 
Bombay ; the Honourable Mr. Justice Kurnaraswarni 


Sastri of the Madras High Court ; the Honourable Mr. 
P. C. Mitter, Pleader of the Calcutta High Court and 
Member of the Bengal Legislative Council ; and the 
author of this book. 1 

The Committee sat in Calcutta and at Lahore, and 
examined a number of witnesses, official and non-official, 
as well as a great variety of records of trials and other 
documents. In April they had submitted a unanimous 
report to the Government of India, which gave a full 
account of the origin and growth of revolutionary con- 
spiracy in India, tracing the ramifications of the move- 
ment and the interconnection of its varying phases in 
different provinces. The Committee also submitted 
recommendations regarding the legislative measures 
required for coping with the difficulties encountered in 
dealing with the movement. Publication of the Report 
was announced on July 19th. As was to be expected, the 
book was hailed with showers of abuse by the Extremist 
Press. The Moderates generally reserved comment. 

The country at large was in no way disturbed by all 
these political events. The people generally were 
interested in the abnormal delay of the rains and in 
rising prices. So far the war period had been marked 
by good harvests ; but in 1918 the monsoon broke down 
disastrously. The high prices, first of salt and after- 
wards of cloth and oil, caused considerable hardship as 
the months advanced ; and for one of the people who 
in the least understood the Reforms proposals, there 
were many thousands who, as the rains persisted in 
holding off, looked anxiously for Government measures 
to enable them to buy salt, oil, and cloth at prices 
within their means. 

The days of civil officers were occupied by heavy 
routine duties and extra war work. Recruiting for the 

1 We were all entirely unknown to each other. 


Army and for labour corps, 1 collection of supplies 
and comforts for troops, all progressed with zeal and 
rapidity. Attention, too, was riveted on the battle- 
fields of France. Now and then officers who had taken 
part in the great struggle returned to speak of its vicissi- 
tudes. A letter published in August by the Pioneer news- 
paper gave the impression which affairs in that month, 
before the definite failure of the monsoon, conveyed 
to one of these observers. 



" From the darkness and gloom of the West, over the 
whole of which the realities of war and the shadows 
which all real things cast around them are much in 
evidence, it is like life from death to arrive in this won- 
derful, peaceful, well-fed happy country of India, where 
the war appears to have made so little appreciable im- 
pression and, where it is possible even in these days, 
when the fate of the nations of the world is trembling 
in the balance, to discuss politics as though political 
discussions and academic wranglings were the panacea 
for all the ills that man is heir to. 

' What a favoured country this is ! Contrast its 
condition with Europe to-day. The whole of Belgium, 
except a tiny piece at the south-west corner, is in the 
hands of the Germans, who have wantonly destroyed 
the beautiful towns and glorious buildings which had 
been handed down to us as a priceless heritage from the 
past, and which can never again be constructed, for the 
master minds and hands of the periods which produced 
these heirlooms of the world have gone, producing in 
turn hard commercial master minds which, though 

1 Even before September 1917 India had sent about twenty labour 
corps to Mesopotamia and twenty-five to France. Also she had de- 
spatched overseas about 60,000 artizans, labourers, and specialists of 
various kinds and 20,000 menials and followers. Many more were sent 


capable of doing many things for the amenities of man- 
kind, cannot build as those built of yore, for the soul of 
man has, in some mysterious manner, changed, and 
building for love, to the glory of God, and for the edify- 
ing of humanity, is not the outstanding feature of the 
period in which we are playing our part. 

" In Europe food and the very necessaries of life are 
rationed, as the supply of many commodities is not 
equal to the demand a condition of things brought 
about by the removal of men from productive employ- 
ment and using them for the destruction of the enemy 
of civilisation, who, like the Huns of Attila from whom 
they are descended, are carrying out the order of the 
German Emperor addressed to them in the same words 
as he spoke to his soldiers when sending them to China 
to quell the Boxer rising, ' Kill and destroy. Spare not. 
Leave the women and children only their eyes to 
cry with/ 

" Compare the conditions described with those we 
find around us here work is proceeding very much as 
usual. Certain commodities are expensive, but, being 
not necessary in every case for the sustenance of life, 
need not be purchased. Food is plentiful, and, though 
not as cheap as it was before the war, is within the 
reach of all, and can be procured without food tickets, 
which it is necessary for every one to have in Europe. 
Productive employment is seen on every hand. Works 
of utility are being constructed, though not of the same 
magnitude as during the piping times of peace, and on 
every hand there is evidence of that sense of security 
and order which the Britisher, with his slow but sure 
methods, ensures for all, and which results in producing 
the greatest good for the greatest number/' 

Great issues were at stake in Europe and Asia ; but 
while the Empire was fighting for its life, the more 
advanced Nationalists remained absorbed in their own 
pursuits. The resources of the famous Buckingham 


and Carnatic Mills at Madras had been placed at the 
disposal of Government for assistance in the provision 
of essential war material. A statement published by 
Messrs. Binny & Co., the secretaries and treasurers of 
these mills, attributes the labour unrest which charac- 
terised the year 1918 to the unfortunate political 
situation in Southern India and to the anti-European 
sentiments propounded by certain politicians. It 
quotes four relevant passages from the paper New 
India in support of this contention. It states that 
a Labour Union had been started with representatives 
whose primary object was politics. This Union 
met more or less continuously throughout 1918. At 
its meetings the workmen were told that they were 
treated worse than beasts of burden. At one meeting, 
held on April 29th, they were informed that a 
variety of Madras leaders would explain to them the 
various political, social, and economic questions which 
touched them nearly. The report of the directors for 
the half-year ending December 31st, 1918, contains the 
following account of the results of these meetings : 

" Both mills were entirely closed for twenty working 
days in all during the half-year. It was noteworthy 
that the mills singled out for attack were mills under 
European management, engaged in work of military 
importance. The directors trusted that the methods 
employed in Madras might not be followed or allowed 
in other parts of India. If political changes were to 
be sought for in this manner, the development of the 
resources of the country by manufacturers would be 
seriously retarded, as the investment of capital, European 
or Indian, would be prejudicial. The artificial fostering 
of race hatred might have disastrous results for Indian 
industries. From this it is not a long step to class 
hatred and to conditions of anarchy." 

At the end of August special meetings of the Congress 


and Muslim League, while admitting the Montagu- 
Chelmsford Scheme to be an advance on present con- 
ditions, declared it, as a whole, disappointing and un- 
satisfactory. They stated in effect that they would 
reject the scheme unless it embodied certain other 
demands which they specified. The Moderate leaders 
did not attend the Congress. 

Early in September the Imperial Legislative Council 
assembled at Simla. On the 6th of the month the 
Honourable Mr. Surendranath Banerjee, leader of the 
Moderates, moved the following resolution : 

' This Council, while thanking His Excellency the 
Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India for the 
Reform proposals, and recognising them as a genuine 
effort and a definite advance towards the progressive 
realisation of responsible government in India, recom- 
mends to the Governor-General in Council that a Com- 
mittee consisting of all the non-official members of this 
Council be appointed to consider the Reforms Report 
and make recommendations to the Government of 



The mover expressed strong approval of the Reforms 
proposals, criticising only those which related to the 
Government of India and the absence of dyarchy there. 
He concluded by inviting his countrymen to grasp with 
alacrity and enthusiasm the hand of fellowship and 
friendship held out to them, and " in co-operation with 
British statesmen to move forward to the accomplish- 
ment of those high destinies which, under the Providence 
of God, are reserved for our people." 

The resolution was warmly supported by other mem- 
bers. Among British non officials, however, the represen- 
tative of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce said that 
he was not yet in possession of the considered opinion 
of his constituency ; and the representative of the 


Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, the late Mr. W. A. 
Ironside, complained that the proposals practically 
ignored the European non-official community. 

A very few Indian non-officials expressed either 
limited satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the pro- 
posals ; but only two finally opposed the resolution. 
The proposed committee sat and submitted recom- 
mendations which showed that the dissatisfied members 
had exercised no small influence over its deliberations. 
As, however, the author of this book took part in these 
memorable sessions, he can say from personal observa- 
tion that the attitude of non-official members generaUy 
was one of friendly cordiality and offered promise of a 
brighter future. An additional war contribution of 
45,000,000 was offered to His Majesty's Government, 
and even a debate on the Press Act produced no bitter- 
ness, while a resolution by a non-official member recom- 
mending that consideration and disposal of the Report 
of the Sedition Committee be kept in abeyance, and 
that a thorough inquiry into the work of the Criminal 
Investigation Department be undertaken by a mixed 
committee of officials and non- officials, was rejected by 
46 to 2 votes. 

In view of the very different debates qf the following 
sessions on the same subject, it is interesting to note 
that of the six non-official members who spoke in addi- 
tion to the mover, all condemned the proposal that 
consideration of the report should be kept in abeyance, 
one saying that this proposal was inopportune in view 
of attempts made in England to use the Report as an 
antidote to the intended Reforms. He added that not 
only was the proposal inopportune, but that it was 
calculated to injure the successful passage of the Re- 
forms Bill through Parliament. One member, subse- 
quently a bitter opponent of the resulting legislation, 


strongly commended the Report; and while three 
specially reserved opinion upon the legislative pro- 
posals, only one condemned them. The debate passed 
off with entire good humour and general harmony. 

On September 9th and 10th, while the Council 
was sitting, serious riots with loss of life occurred in 

For some time that section of the Muhammadan com- 
munity of Calcutta which manifests an interest in 
public affairs had been agitated by the course of events 
outside their province, particularly by the war and its 
effects upon their co-religionists in Turkey and Asia. 
Their feelings had been worked up by newspaper effu- 
sions, and had previously been deeply stirred by the 
Arrah riots. Latterly the lower classes of all cities had 
suffered from high prices. 

At the end of July an unwisely worded article had 
appeared in a paper relating to the presence of certain 
African Muhammadans in Paris. Originally published 
in England, it was reproduced in Calcutta without 
mischievous intention. It was misinterpreted, and an 
incorrect translation of an expression which appeared 
in some vernacular newspapers gave rise to an impres- 
sion among many Muhammadans that insult to the 
tomb of the Prophet was intended. Violent and in- 
flammatory language was used at various meetings held 
during August, and more than one speaker called upon 
the followers of Islam to avenge this insult to their 
faith. Towards the end of the month a leaflet was 
widely distributed which called upon Muhammadans 
in highly provocative language to attend a mass meet- 
ing to be held for the protection of Islam on September 
8th, 9th, and 10th. Reference was made therein 
to religious insults, and it was urged that it was neces- 
sary to take steps to prevent attacks and accursed 


occurrences. It was stated that Muslim religious 
leaders would attend from all parts of India. 

The Local Government could have no doubt that 
harangues would be delivered at the proposed meeting 
which, in the existing state of public feeling, would 
lead to a grave breach of the peace. The promoters of 
the meeting were, therefore, amicably requested to 
abandon it ; and on their refusal, followed by the circula- 
tion of a second leaflet which was couched in still more 
inflammatory language and contained provocative re- 
ferences to the Arrah riots, Government decided to pro- 
hibit the mass meeting. The religious leaders who had 
arrived from other parts of India were directed to 
return to their homes ; but before they went a few of the 
more influential were invited to see the Governor, who 
explained the situation to them. They endeavoured 
to persuade the reception committee to abandon the 
meeting. Efforts were, however, made to induce re- 
consideration of the Government's decision, and a 
crowd set out to march on Government House. The 
police were stoned and finally compelled to fire. The 
European Deputy Commissioner of Police was stabbed 
in the neck, and some cloth shops were looted. The 
Indian Defence Force was called out, and picketed the 
city on the night of the 9th. About midday on the 
10th a larger mob assembled and began to plunder 
shops. A small military detachment in the vicinity 
was constrained to fire. The agitators called mill-hands 
to assist them, and the operatives of three large mills 
refused to do their work. A foreman, too, was brutally 
attacked and badly injured. Then a mob of about 
2,000 persons endeavoured to force their way into Cal- 
cutta. A large number carried formidable clubs, and 
were led by fanatics shouting and dancing, their bodies 
smeared with mud. Further firing was necessary to 


prevent this mob from forcing their way into the city. 
The riots then subsided, but further sporadic firing took 

A further reminder of the fanatical fury that can 
blaze out suddenly in India for slight material reason 
was given on September 18th by a religious riot at 
the village of Katarpur in the Saharampur district of 
the United Provinces. There thirty Muhammadans 
were killed, sixteen were injured, and a number of 
houses were burnt down by Hindus determined to 
prevent cow- sacrifice. 

The murders were brutal and unprovoked. The 
rioters were led and instigated by Hindus of the better 
classes. One hundred and seventy-five Hindus were 
convicted after a long and patient trial by a tribunal of 
high authority ; eight were sentenced to death, 135 
to transportation for life, and two to seven years' 
rigorous imprisonment. The judges strongly anim- 
adverted on the nervous weakness of the Hindu sub- 
divisional magistrate. 1 

Criticisms of the Reforms Scheme accumulated. The 
more important are contained in a parliamentary blue 
book lately published. On November 1st the 
Moderates held a separate conference at Bombay. The 
President condemned the perverse attitude of the Ex- 
tremist leaders, but considered that the proposals 
relating to the Government of India should be more 
advanced. If the whole of what was recommended 
was not given, if the proposals in the Report were in 
any way " whittled down/' there would be grave 
public discontent " followed by agitation, the magni- 
tude of which it would be difficult to exaggerate." 

It was resolved that dyarchy should extend to the 

1 Within my own experience another Hindu magistrate once behaved 
admirably in a similar but less grave situation. 


Central Government, although the Viceroy had par- 
ticularly stated at the September Sessions of the Legis- 
lative Council that neither he nor the Government of 
India was prepared to go beyond the proposals con- 
tained in the Keport. The Conference was attended 
by about 500 delegates, a figure far smaller than either 
the average Congress audience or the recent special 
Congress audience. It is probable that the attendance 
was materially affected by widespread influenza ; but 
it consisted only of invited visitors, as fears had 
been entertained of possible wreckers. There is no 
doubt that the Moderate leaders were in a difficult 
position, and were encountering bitter opposition from 
antagonists far more able to catch the ear of the stu- 
dents, journalists, and junior members of the Bar who so 
often sway political audiences in India. They were, how- 
ever, aware that in fact they represented many educated 
Indians of means and position, who feared and shrank 
from the strife of politics and abuse of newspapers. 
Had, indeed, such persons seized the opportunity and 
come forward in any number to steady the course of 
politics at this critical time, the record of the next few 
months would have been different. But they stood 

Unfortunately the monsoon failed badly ; and in 
October and November the country was visited by a 
severe influenza epidemic which caused widespread 
suffering. The conclusion, however, of the Armistice 
and the triumph of the Allied cause were welcomed 
throughout the country. The Maharaja of Bikanir and 
Sir Satyendra Sinha 1 were deputed to England to repre- 
sent India at the Peace Conference. 

Political excitement subsided for a brief space, but 
broke out again at the usual December meetings. 

1 Now Lord Sinha. 


Fervid orations were delivered at these gatherings. 
The principle of self-determination must be applied to 
India. Political prisoners and internees must be re- 
leased. Repressive legislation was not the remedy for 
revolutionary crime. The Press Act must be repealed. 
The declaration of August 20th, 1917, was cautious 
and cold. The Montagu-Chelmsford proposals fell far 
short of the Congress-League Scheme. There must be 
fiscal freedom for India. The principal resolution 
passed at the Congress expressed the view that, so far 
as the provinces were concerned, full responsible govern- 
ment should be at once granted. Mr. Sastri, the only 
Moderate politician of importance present, moved an 
amendment proposing a fifteen years' time limit for the 
grant of full provincial autonomy. He was supported 
by Mrs. Besant, but the amendment was lost. Another 
resolution passed was to the effect that non-official 
Europeans should not be allowed to form separate elec- 
torates on the ground that they represent the mining 
or the tea industries. If they were allowed such repre- 
sentation, it should be merely in accordance with their 
numerical proportion to the population of their pro- 

A third resolution decided that the final authority 
in all internal affairs should be the supreme Legislative 
Assembly as voicing the will of the Indian nation. 

A fourth resolution nominated Mr. Bal Gangadhar 
Tilak, Mr. Gandhi, and Saiyid Hassam Imam, late 
President of the Bombay Special Congress, as the repre- 
sentatives of India at the Peace Conference. 

Another resolution condemned the proposals of the 
Sedition Committee, stating that if these were accepted, 
they " would interfere with the fundamental rights of 
the Indian people." This resolution was moved by Mr. 
Bipin Chandra Pal, who, in his own reported words, had 


" earned high distinction" in the pages of the Committee's 
Report. The resolution was carried unanimously. 

In a closing address the President appealed for Hindu- 
Muslim unity. 

The Congress had included some " tenant-delegates." 
The proceedings generally were characterised by a corre- 
spondent of a leading Moderate journal as " enthusiasm 
run riot." He added : 

" One looked in vain for sobriety, restraint, and good 
sense ; there was a notable tendency toward rabid 
extremism. . . . There was a tendency towards im- 
patient idealism rather than practical statesmanship, 
towards indulgence in catch-phrases rather than sound 
thinking dispassionately done. And the worst of it 
was that it was not merely the rank and file which suf- 
fered from these defects ; the leaders showed these 
weaknesses in an even greater degree." 

The President of the Muslim League reminded British 
statesmen that it was politically unsound to indulge in 
heavy drafts on the loyalty of a subject people. India 
had retrograded in material prosperity under British 
rule. The British administration had not promoted or 
widened the sources of national wealth in India, and 
all the available wealth had been actually drained out 
of the country by the system of administration. Self- 
government was necessary. He referred to the Cal- 
cutta riots and the cases of certain Muhammadan in- 
ternees, two of whom have since been, by order of the 
Government of India, committed to jail for endeavour- 
ing to induce Muhammadans to assist the Amir of 
Afghanistan in the recent hostilities. After asserting 
Muhammadan loyalty to the British Crown, subject to 
fidelity to the dictates of their faith, the President, Mr. 
Fazl-ul-Haq, concluded in the following words : 


" I will not, therefore, be surprised if they take this 
opportunity finally to dispose of Turkey and her pro- 
blems in Europe, and herein lies food for the amplest 
reflection. As the years roll on, the position of the 
Mussulmans in India becomes more and more critical, 
and demands our most anxious thought and care. In 
my humble opinion we should invoke divine help and 
guidance in all sincerity and meekness of heart ; above 
all, we should renounce any lurking spirit of strife and 
quarrel with other communities, and seek their help and 
assistance in our troubles and difficulties. There are 
some Mussulmans who think that intolerance of non- 
Muslims is a point of bravery, and that a contrary feeling 
betokens cowardice. I have even come across Muslims 
who take a particular pleasure in assuming a militant 
attitude towards non-Muslims, as if devotion to Islam 
demands that we should always be on the warpath 
irrespective of consequences. All this is not merely 
morally reprehensible, but politically a grievous blunder. 
We are daily drifting towards a position when we shall 
have to tackle one of the most obstinate and powerful 
bureaucracies known in history. We shall then need 
all our strength, and also the help and co-operation of 
our non-Muslim brethren. Experience has shown that 
we can have this help and co-operation for the mere 
asking. Shall we be wise and strengthen our arms by 
an alliance with our brethren, or shall we be foolish and 
weaken whatever strength we possess by internecine 
quarrel and strife ? We have to decide with the future 
of our community in the palm of our hands, and, please 
God, let us decide wisely." 1 

Resolutions were passed regarding the desirability 
of maintaining the control of the Sultan of Turkey as 
the true Khalifa over the Holy Places, deprecating the 
Katarpur riots, supporting self-determination, and other 

1 Another passage in Mr. Fazl-ul-Haq's speech referred to " the hurling 
of the hordes of Christendom against the bulwarks which the heroes of 
Islam had raised for th protection of their faith." 


matters. In determining the political relations of the 
Empire for the future, resolute attempts must be made 
to effect complete reconciliation and lasting accord 
between the Empire and Muslim States, based on terms 
of equity and justice. 

The All-India Home Rule League also met, with Mrs. 
Besant in the chair. Their rules were amended. Their 
object would be to support and strengthen the Congress, 
and to carry on a continuous educative propaganda 
on the necessity of Home Rule for India. 

It was so evident, however, that both the Congress 
and the Muslim League had been captured by the most 
headstrong sections of each body, that Mrs. Besant 
thought it advisable to point out in her newspaper 
that India depended on England for her safety, writing 
that " apart from ideals and sentiments, this is the 
plain brutal truth, and no amount of shouting can alter 
it." For this reason stages toward responsible govern- 
ment were necessary, not that India was unfit "in all 
home matters " for immediate self-government. 

There can be no doubt that among the younger mem- 
bers of the political classes in towns, some of the speeches 
and resolutions of these December meetings did infinite 
harm, inflaming still further racial animosity and in- 
ordinate expectations, preparing the way for serious 
trouble sooner or later. 




ON May 22nd, 1919, the Secretary of State for India 
told the House of Commons that one of the causes of 
the recent troubles in India, which had resulted in the 
loss of nine European and 400 Indian lives, was the 
Sedition Act, which had caused widespread he would 
almost say universal opposition. He added that he 
was convinced that as passed, as now on the Statute 
Book, the Act was necessary, ought to have been passed, 
and could not have been avoided. 

It is obvious that the Act in question, and the objects 
which it was meant to serve, call for clear explanation. 
I have already referred to the Report of the Sedition 
(Rowlatt) Committee, and have shown that in Septem- 
ber 1918 the Imperial Legislative Council saw no cause 
whatever for postponing consideration thereof. The 
Council then did not expect that before it again as- 
sembled the war would have been decided. The con- 
clusion of the Armistice impressed on the Government 
of India the desirability of early action to supply by 
legislation a measure which would take the place of the 
Defence of India Act, when, six months after the con- 
clusion of peace, that Act would become inoperative. 
This conviction was mainly due to the needs of the 
province of Bengal. 

The findings of the Sedition Committee were that in 

1 86 


all the main provinces of India within recent years, 
bands of conspirators, energetic and ingenious, although 
few in number, had caused discord or committed crime 
with the object of preparing the way for the overthrow 
by force of British rule. Sometimes revolutionary plots 
had been isolated, and sometimes they had been inter- 
connected. In Bombay the conspiracies had been 
purely Brahman. In Bengal the conspirators were 
young men belonging to the educated middle classes. 
They had committed a long series of murders and rob- 
beries, which had only ceased when a considerable num- 
ber of suspects were interned under the Defence of 
India Act. Their propaganda had produced a number 
of murders and robberies in their own province, and had 
penetrated to Bihar and Orissa, the United Provinces 
and Madras, where it failed to take root, but led to 
sporadic crime or disorder. In the Punjab returned 
emigrants and others had attempted to bring about a 
bloody rebellion in the critical month of February 1915. 
There, again, the situation was only retrieved by em- 
ployment of the Defence of India Act. The fact was 
that the ordinary statute law was unable to cope with 
conspiracies rich in ramifications, extending over enor- 
mous tracts of country largely devoid of roads and 
railways, among peoples crowded, ignorant and credu- 

The Bengal conspirators, although a small fraction 
of the enormous population of that province, spared no 
pains to attract educated youths to their ranks from 
schools and colleges. In this they were remarkably 
successful. They organised and conducted for years a 
campaign of revolutionary propaganda, of burglary and 
robbery committed with the object of extracting money 
for the purchase of firearms and the financing of mur- 
derous enterprises which were to prove stepping-stones 


to a violent upheaval. Gradually they established a 
terrorism which made evidence of their doings exceed- 
ingly hard to obtain. All the time they were working 
mainly in the small towns and villages of a vast water- 
country, largely destitute of good communications, or 
in a big capital city and its suburbs, under cover first 
of all of the Partition agitation and then of a constant 
current of newspaper hostility to Government. The 
following extracts from the Report show the nature of 
their crimes and the frequent impunity with which 
those crimes were committed. The first is from the 
narrative of the year 1915 : 

'' It remains to mention three murders which occurred 
in Eastern Bengal this year. On March 3rd, Babu 
Sarat Kumar Basu, the head master of the Zilla School 
at Comilla, was shot dead while walking with his ser- 
vant. The servant was wounded in the stomach. A 
Muhammadan who pursued the murderers received two 
shots in the chest, and a woman was accidentally struck 
by a bullet from one of the pistols. Five empty Mauser 
pistol cartridges were found upon the scene. The head 
master's servant eventually died. The victim of this 
murder had come into antagonism with political parties 
in Bengal in 1908, and shortly before his murder had 
had occasion to report to the district magistrate about 
two students concerned in the distribution of seditious 
pamphlets. None but political reasons can be assigned 
for this murder." 

The Report goes on to mention the murder of a police 
officer who was shot with his child by four or five 
youths armed with Mauser pistols. The next illustra- 
tion belongs to the record of two years later : 

" Another dacoity in 1917 remains to be specially 
mentioned. It was committed in a goldsmith's shop 
at No. 32, Armenian Street, Bura Bazar, Calcutta, at 


about 9 p.m. on May 7th. Two young Bengalis 
entered the shop and asked to see jewellery. Then four 
young Bengalis entered the shop and began firing 
wildly with pistols. Two brothers of the owner, who 
were in the shop, fell mortally wounded. There were 
also in the shop an assistant and a servant, who were 
both wounded, two women, one of whom escaped and 
the other hid under a bench, and a Muhammadan who 
escaped. The dacoits decamped with jewellery to the 
value of Rs. 5,459, and some of them drove away in a 
taxi-cab that they had in waiting." 

In neither of these cases was a single conviction ob- 
tained. There were many such cases. 

The panic which the Revolutionaries managed to 
inspire in the minds of members both of the educated 
and uneducated classes is well exemplified by unim- 
peachable testimony entirely independent of the Com- 
mittee's report. On December llth, 1916, Lord 
Carmichael, then Governor of Bengal, said in a speech : 

" Only a few days ago I spoke to one of you, one 
who has influence, one who has eloquence, and who 
knows how to use both, and who, I believe, hates the 
crimes as much as I do ; he told me that if he were to 
go, as he would like to go, to certain places in Bengal, 
and were to denounce the crimes publicly as he would 
like to denounce them, he would do it at the risk of 
his life ; and I told him that this is not a risk which 
he ought lightly to undertake, and is certainly not a 
risk which I ought to ask him to undertake/' 

In a farewell speech the same Governor remarked in 
the same connection : 

" The Defence of India Act is what has helped us. I 
am only saying what I believe to be absolutely true 
when I say that the Defence of India Act has helped to 
defend the young educated men of Bengal as nothing 


else has defended them not their own fathers, not their 
teachers, for they were ignorant, not their associates, 
nor they themselves, for they were blind to the danger." 

Mr. Justice Beachcroft and Sir N. G. Chandravarkar 
stated as follows in their Report referred to later on and 
completed some time after the publication of the 
Report of the Sedition Committee : 

' The records before us conclusively jprove that the 
revolutionary organisations are secret conspiracies which 
have spread into different parts of the province, entered 
homes, schools, and colleges, and have reduced their 
secrecy of operations almost to scientific methods. They 
have pledged their members to the closest secrecy of 
their movements on pain of instant death by murder 
in the event of disclosure ; that is one of their rules, 
and every attempt has been made to give effect to it. 
Before the Defence of India Act was brought into force, 
the fair trial of a person accused of revolutionary crime 
had been rendered practically impossible by the mur- 
ders of approvers, witnesses, police officers and law- 
abiding citizens suspected by revolutionaries of having 
given information to, or otherwise assisted, the police 
in the detection of revolutionary crime. A situation 
of terrorism was created, the current of truth and 
justice was disturbed, so as to prevent a fair, open, and 
impartial trial in the ordinary criminal courts, with the 
result that approvers and witnesses would not come 
forward to give evidence openly lest they should be 

The Committee took pains to present the facts for 
each province in clear narrative form. They carefully 
described the nature of the evidence on which their 
findings were based, and they were rewarded by the 
result. Their conclusions of fact withstood unshaken 
all the storms of abuse and controversy by which the 
report was subsequently assailed. 


They had been requested to advise as to the legis- 
lation, if any, necessary to enable Government to deal 
effectively with such conspiracies when the Defence of 
India Act ceased to operate. In compliance with this 
request, they prepared two concluding chapters. The 
first recited the difficulties that had arisen in dealing 
with revolutionary conspiracies. It showed how the 
ordinary machinery of the law had failed to cope suffi- 
ciently with revolutionary crimes in Bengal. Legal 
evidence as to the authorship of particular crimes, the 
ownership of arms and other matters bearing on the 
identity of robbers and murderers, had again and again 
been unobtainable owing to the size and character of 
the country, the ignorance and timidity ^of the people, 
the comparative paucity of the police, the length of the 
trials which were habitually spun out by the cross- 
examination of witnesses upon every conceivable matter 
with a minuteness unknown in England. Moreover, a 
widespread and extraordinary terrorism dominated 
many of these unfortunate persons. Of this terrorism 
the Committee gave striking examples. They also 
pointed out that not until 1908 had the Government of 
India attempted to strengthen the law in order to 
enable it to meet the difficulties that had arisen in 
dealing with revolutionary crime. Conspiracy had 
then enjoyed two years' start. As the measures of 1908 
were found inadequate, the Press Act of 1910 was 
passed. In the intervening two years, newspapers had 
continued to vilify British rule, and pamphlets of a 
fanatical and bloodthirsty character had been circu- 
lated. Thus it was that a soil was prepared on which 
anarchy flourished and criminal organisations were able 
to enlist a constant supply of desperate youths. 

The last chapter of the report advised certain mea- 
sures of legislation. The Committee pointed out that 


their instructions were applicable to the state of circum- 
stances in which the difficulties referred to had been 
encountered. These difficulties had been for the pre- 
sent circumvented by special temporary legislation, the 
Defence of India Act and certain ordinances, but when 
these lapsed on the conclusion of the war, the old 
obstacles might or might not revive. 

' We do not think," ran the report, " that it is for 
us to speculate nicely on these matters. We must, of 
course, keep in view that the present war will have 
come to an end, but we cannot say with what result 
or with what ulterior consequential effects or possi- 
bilities of consequential effects upon the situation. On 
\ the other hand, the persons interned under the Defence 
of India Act will be due for release, and the terms of 
imprisonment of many dangerous convicts will be 
V coming to an end. Further, there will, especially in 
the Punjab, be a large number of disbanded soldiers, 
among whom it may be possible to stir up discontent. 
Nevertheless, if we thought it clear that the measures 
taken against the revolutionary movement under the 
Defence of India Act had so broken it that the possi- 
bility of the conspiracies being revived could be safely 
disregarded, we should say so. That is not our view, 
and it is on this footing that we report." 

The Committee pointed out that before the war, in 
1911, special preventive legislation had been considered 
advisable, and that in 1914 it had been recognised that 
the forces of law and order, working through the 
ordinary channels, could not cope with the situation in 
Bengal. They showed that the whole history of the 
endeavours of the Government to deal with revolutionary 
crime was a history of extreme unwillingness to recog- 
nise the potency of the terrorism exercised by the 
revolutionaries, and of reluctance to deprive any man 
of his liberty without an open and regular trial. Even 


the powers conferred by the old Regulation III of 1818, 
which enabled deportations or detentions of persons 
as state prisoners, were hardly ever resorted to. In 
fact, it was only when Government was forced by a 
developing and extending anarchical organisation from 
position to position that early in 1914 it contemplated 
a substantial number of internments. Even then no 
action was taken until the war broke out and, by 
adducing other considerations and greatly encouraging 
revolutionary crime, compelled prompt and effective 
remedy in the shape of the Defence of India Act. 

Thus it was the suggestions which the Committee put 
forward contained hardly an idea which had not, in 
one connection or another, been the subject of critical 
discussion, although they did not reproduce as an 
assembled whole any scheme previously submitted. 

The Committee proposed punitive and preventive 
measures, 1 the former in order better to secure the con- 
viction and punishment of offenders, the latter to 
check the spread of conspiracy and the commission of 
revolutionary crime. They expected far more from 
the latter than from the former. Among the former 
were a few suggested amendments of the substantive 
existing law. These were to be permanent changes. 
Emergency measures, both punitive and preventive, 
were also proposed. The Committee pointed out that 
as the powers which they suggested must be ready for 
use at short notice, they should be on the statute-book 
in advance. This fact, too, was calculated to have 
some moral effect, as those who meditated renewal of 
an anarchical movement would thus know what they 
would have to encounter. To postpone legislation till 

1 The proposals have been frequently criticised, under the apparent 
impression that to suggest political concessions lay within the province 
of the Committee. 


the danger was instant, was to risk a recurrence of 
the futile discussions as to possibilities of action 
which marked a period of years before the war. 
Emergency measures, that is, measures to be applied 
upon a notification by the Governor- General in 
Council declaring the existence of a state of affairs 
justifying such application, should therefore be framed 
and enacted. These powers would be both punitive 
and preventive, the latter to be of two degrees 
of stringency, as it was desirable that mild measures 
should, if possible, be taken first. 

The notifications would be capable of application to 
particular provinces or to smaller areas. The principal 
measures recommended were provisions (a) for the 
trial of seditious crime by three judges of the highest 
grade and status, without juries or assessors who were 
liable to be affected by public discussion or deliberate 
terrorism; (6) for investing a provincial government, 
on emergency, with powers of internment similar to 
those which could be applied under the Defence of India 
Act, but modified by checks in the shape of local in- 
vestigating and visiting committees. 

Internments should be either a mere restriction of 
movements or a complete temporary deprivation of 
liberty, as the revolutionaries varied widely in charac- 
ter, some merely requiring to be kept from evil associa- 
tions and others being irreconcilable desperadoes. 

Emergency powers would only be used upon a noti- 
fication by the Governor-General in Council declaring 
that a state of affairs justified such a course of action, 
except in the cases of revolutionaries involved in crimes 
committed before the expiration of the Defence of 
India Act and of desperate characters whose automatic 
release on that occasion could not be. contemplated. 
Finally the Committee invited attention to the proof 


in their narrative that there were bodies outside India 
conspiring to promote seditious violence in that country. 
During the war armed insurrection had been plotted 
between these bodies and revolutionaries in India, with 
the encouragement of the enemies of the Empire. 
Although it was impossible to forecast post-war condi- 
tions either within or outside India, a situation should 
be contemplated in which, while India was peaceful, 
conspirators from abroad might enter the country to 
promote disorder. Provision was needed for such a 
contingency and to prevent revolutionary crime, when 
once established anew in any province, spreading to 
others and necessitating an extended proclamation of 
emergency measures. The Committee considered 
whether the Act enabling the employment of the 
emergency measures above described should be per- 
manent or temporary. They decided that this was a 
question of policy upon which they would express no 

In January 1919 the Government of India announced 
their intention of proceeding with the legislation recom- 
mended by the Sedition Committee on the opening of 
the February sessions of the Imperial Legislative 
Council. They published two draft Bills to be per- 
manent in operation which embodied the Committee's 
recommendations. One Bill included the alterations 
proposed in the permanent law. The other, which was 
by far the more important, detailed the emergency 
legislation. It should be noted that in the interval 
between the publication of the Report and the close of 
the year 1918, the Government of Bengal had published 
a report received from a committee of two, Mr. Justice 
Beachcroft, a Calcutta High Court Judge of established 
reputation, and Sir Narain Chandravarkar, an ex-High 
Court Judge of Bombay, well-known in progressive 


Indian circles. This committee had been appointed 
to examine and report on the cases of 806 detenus (100 
State prisoners dealt with under Regulation III of 1818, 
702 internees restrained under the Defence of India 
Act, and four persons confined under the Indian Ingress 
Ordinance). The Committee reported on August 31st 
to the following effect?: 

" Our study and examination of the cases have im- 
pressed us with the correctness of the conclusion arrived 
at in their Report by the Sedition Committee 1918, 
presided over by Mr. Justice Rowlatt, as to the alliance 
and interconnection of all the groups, formed into one 
revolutionary movement with one common object, viz., 
the overthrow of His Majesty's Government in India 
by force. All the individual cases stand so closely 
interconnected as parts of one whole that they form, 
both as to the personnel and acts of crime, one con- 
tinuous movement of revolution which must be re- 
garded as living and prolonged in all its parts until 
the movement is completely extinguished/' 

The Committee recommended the release of six only 
of all the above enumerated detenus. 

The publication of the new Bills in January was the 
signal for widespread and intensified Extremist con- 
demnation of the Rowlatt Report and its proposals. 
The Moderate leaders, too, declared against the pro- 
posals. Even Sir Narain Chandravarkar announced 
that no legislation of the kind intended was required, 
as revolutionary effort would probably become extinct 
on the enactment of the forthcoming constitutional 

Before and after the Imperial Legislative Council met, 
speakers at public meetings and newspaper editors 
endeavoured to persuade the country that in announc- 
ing these Bills Government was endeavouring to erect 


a monstrous engine of tyranny and oppression. At 
Madras, the chairman of a meeting said that legislation 
had been proposed which gravely imperilled the ele- 
mentary rights of every British citizen, and this at a 
time when Indians had given special proofs of their 
loyalty. Another speaker said that this legislation was 
an attempt to invent crimes. A third speaker accused 
Government of wishing to arm itself with a precautionary 
measure which would enable it to deal with the agita- 
tion which would follow on the passing of an unsatis- 
fying measure of Reforms. Should, however, the 
Reforms be unsatisfying, a worse mutiny than 1857 
would result. 

At a Home Rule League meeting in Bombay an 
orator said that the provisions of the proposed Bills . 
were designed to filch away liberties. Determined steps : 
must be taken to prevent the Bills from becoming law. 
At a mass meeting in Calcutta the President said that 
against the British Crown there was no revolutionary 
party, but discontent was bitter against the bureau- 
cracy. The Bills made it unsafe even to think freely. 
They took away all right to personal liberty. Another 
orator compared the proceedings of the Government to 
the action of Nadir Shah (who sacked Delhi and mas- 
sacred its inhabitants). He was at any rate honest, 
but the Government was not even honest in its tyranny., 
A Calcutta newspaper accused the Government of being 
blinded by zid (enmity), of driving the people mad 
" without rhyme or reason." 

In Lahore the first act of a tragic drama was a pro- 
test meeting held on February 4th by the " Indian 
Association/' at which speeches were made by persons 
who were two months later to be called to account as 
leaders of open sedition and violence. One orator in- 
formed two Punjab non-official members of the Im- 


perial Legislative Council that if they supported the 
Rowlatt Bills they would be regarded as enemies of 
their country and India would know the reason why. 
Gross travesties of the Bills were circulated among the 
ignorant and credulous lower orders in various large 
cities. It was only later that the Government of India 
appreciated the degree of mischief that had been thus 

The Imperial Legislative Council commenced sitting 
at Delhi on February 6th. 

In his opening speech the Viceroy explained the 
necessity for proceeding with the Bills, as the 

very important powers which had enabled the public 
peace and order to be preserved during the war would 
shortly cease to operate and must be replaced by 
adequate substitutes. The sudden release from re- 
straint and control of the forces of anarchy could not 
be contemplated. The reaction against all authority 
which had manifested itself in many parts of the civilised 
world was unlikely to leave India entirely untouched, 
and the powers of evil were still abroad. 

He was sure that special measures were necessary not 
to the maintenance of His Majesty's Government in 
India, but to the safety of the lives and property of its 
citizens. He therefore recommended the two Bills " to 
the very earnest and careful consideration of Council/ 5 

Sir William Vincent, the Home Member, introduced 
the second and more important of the Bills, that which 
related to the conferment of emergency powers. He 
pointed out that the Bill was aimed at seditious crime, 
and not in any sense at political movements properly 
so called. It was not nearly as wide as the Defence of 
India Act, and could be used against none but seditious 
activities. He explained the provisions of the Bill. 
It had not been undertaken without anxious considera- 


tion. Government had no desire to restrict liberty of 
person further than they were forced to by a sense of 
duty. He moved that the Bill be referred to a Select 
Committee, and stated that the Government would be 
perfectly open to consider such modifications as would 
not render the machinery ineffective for dealing with 
the evil which they sought to combat. 

Two amendments were moved. The movers asked 
that the Bill should not be referred to a Select Com- 
mittee at this stage, but postponed for consideration by 
the new councils which would come into existence 
after the passing of the coming Reforms Bill. They 
made it clear, however, that their objections were to 
the Bills themselves. These, if persisted in, would 
produce a tremendous agitation. 

The amendments were supported by all the Indian 
non-official members. It was said that the Bill if 
passed into law would produce " untold misery/' that 
it was " abhorrent and shocking/' that it was " opposed 
to the fundamental principles of law and justice." 
When Government undertook a repressive measure of 
this kind, the innocent were not safe. It was possible 
to pay too high a price for the extinction of wickedness. 
Peace in administration, valuable as it is, might be 
sought in wrong ways. It was desirable to offer satis- 
fying methods of political emancipation. These would 
cure the general atmosphere that feeds anarchy. The 
anarchist would then naturally die, even if untouched 
by the long arm of the law. The non-official members 
of the Council had consented to such repressive mea- 
sures as the Press Act and Defence of India Act, but 
would not accept this Bill. No measure of the kind 
could be supported unless after the Reforms had come 
into effect it were found that revolutionary conspirators 
were still at work. 


The Bill was supported by several official members, 
who pointed out that the real issue was, should the 
Government take adequate measures for protecting its 
subjects and loyal servants from bloodthirsty and 
seditious crime. Dangers were clearly visible which 
were not lessened by the triumph of Bolshevism in 
Russia, even though such triumph might be partial and 
temporary. The leaders of the revolutionary move- 
ment had not vanished from the earth. It was clear, 
from a recent debate in the Bengal Legislative Council, 
that they not only existed, but would renew operations 
when opportunity offered. Their designs had been 
furthered all along by the absence of determined per- 
sistent non-official opposition to their propaganda of 
racial hatred. Indian parents had a right to expect 
that the State would take effective steps to prevent the 
depravation and ruin of their sons. It was incumbent 
on Government to do its best to guard the lives and 
homes of its loyal servants. The facts were admitted 
by honourable members, and the case was not one for 
application of the principle, "Wait (helplessly) and 
see ! ' ; The Government would indeed wait, but it 
would wait armed and ready. There had been gross 
exaggeration of the possible effects of the Bill. Con- 
sideration of it could not be postponed, as a law must 
be ready to take the place of the Defence of India Act. 
In regard to the argument that the Bill poorly rewarded 
India's war effort, the Home Member pointed out that 
this war effort would have been impossible had not 
order been preserved. The Revolutionaries, against 
whom the Bill was directed, so far from helping in the 
war, had conspired with the King's enemies and done 
their best to ruin the Allied cause. 

Both amendments were lost, although supported by 
the votes of all the Indian non-official members. And 


before going further, it is desirable to explain briefly 
the reference to a recent debate in the Bengal Legis- 
lative Council. On January 21st, 1919, a private 
member of that body had moved that the Council 
should recommend to the Governor in Council the im- 
mediate release of all internees. During the debate 
the Honourable Sir Henry Wheeler said, on the part of 
the Government : 

' We have, unfortunately, the best reasons for going 
on with whatever checks have been imposed by the 
measures taken under the Defence Act. Men are still 
abroad who were known to be leaders in the revo- 
lutionary movement ; they are still actively engaged in 
enlisting boys for their own ends and endeavouring to 
foment trouble ; and simply because sedition has been 
checked for the moment, we should not be justified in 
assuming that it does not exist." 

The resolution was lost. 

The Government undertook to make the Act a tem-\ 
porary instead of a permanent measure, in the hope\ 
that the Reforms proposals might do something to \ 
remove the danger now experienced from anarchical \ 
conspiracies. The Act would operate for three years J 
only. In order to make it more apparent that the 
application thereof would be strictly confined to the 
activities of revolutionary and anarchical conspirators, 
they called the measure a Bill " to cope with anarchical 
and revolutionary crime." Lastly, they promised to 
consider any other modifications which non-official 
members might wish to put forward in so far as they 
could do this without rendering the Bill ineffective for 
the purpose for which it was designed. The promise 
was strictly fulfilled. The Bill went through most 
careful and considerate examination in Select Committee, 
and returned to Council modified in every reasonably 


possible particular. But while the action of the Govern- 
ment was eminently conciliatory, the non-official Indian 
members remained obdurate. 

Outside the Council, Extremist leaders and journalists 
spared no pains to incite bitter agitation. They were 
joined, unfortunately, by Mr. Gandhi, who sent to the 
Press a pledge signed by numerous persons of his way 
of thinking, declaring that if the Sedition Bills became 
law they would " civilly refuse to obey these laws and 
such other laws as a committee to be hereafter ap- 
pointed might think fit." They further affirmed that 
in this struggle they would " faithfully follow the truth 
and refrain from violence to life, person, or property." 
This, however, was going too far for the Moderates. 
It was pointed out at once in a leading Moderate paper 
that the principle involved in the pledge was extremely 
dangerous and might lead anywhere, and on March 
15th the Moderate leaders at Delhi issued a mani- 
festo expressing disapproval of passive resistance. They 
did not, however, alter their own attitude toward the 
Bill, and the Extremist agitation continued. 

We must return to the Legislative Council. 

The Home Member had decided to republish the 
minor Bill, which was to be a piece of permanent legis- 
lation, and thus to postpone consideration thereof. 
Debates on the main (Emergency) Bill recommenced 
on March 12th and concluded on March 18th. 
Numerous amendments were moved ; numerous 
speeches were made; and finally the Bill was passed 
after keen debates. Again there were prophecies, 
almost minatory, of agitation, and the measure was 
opposed by all the Indian non-official members. Before 
proceeding further it will be useful to notice two under- 
lying ideas which inspired many of their arguments. 
The first was that in proposing to curtail personal 


liberty and intern without trial, the British Govern- 
ment was trying to do in India what it would not try 
to do in England. The second was that the police and 
the Executive could not be trusted safely with the 
powers committed to them by the Bill. In answer to 
the first, it was pointed out that England is a small 
country, endowed with excellent communications, and 
inhabited by a homogeneous community which differs 
widely from the great masses speaking diverse lan- 
guages, for the most part extremely credulous and 
simple, who dwell together in the vast continent of 
India. It would be impossible for any gangs of con- 
spirators to organise and keep going in Great Britain 
an elusive, potent, and enduring system of robbery 
and terrorism of the sort which had been so successful 
in Bengal and had attempted operations in other pro- 
vinces. But if anything of the kind were attempted 
in Britain, and if the ordinary law were inefficacious 
because witnesses were terrorised and policemen were 
shot, it was certain that remedies would be applied as 
drastic as, and probably more drastic than, the Bill 
before the Council. Moreover, different as conditions 
are in England and India, the greatest reluctance had 
all along been shown by Secretaries of State and the 
Government of India to the undertaking of this kind of 
legislation. It was only under compelling necessity 
that the Bill had been devised. 

As to the second argument, the fact remained that 
when in the preceding year the cases of 800 persons, 
interned or detained as State prisoners in Bengal, were 
investigated by the judges of the highest calibre, only 
six were recommended for release. Under the provi- 
sions of the Bill non-officials would be members of the 
investigating committees in all cases of internment. It 
was thus obvious that particular precautions had been 


taken to prevent any mistakes whatever in future. The 
Beachcroft-Chandravarkar Report bore remarkable 
testimony to the cautious work of the police in revo- 
lutionary cases. Revolutionary crime was, the Report 
explained, collective and continuous in its operation. 
The risk of exposure of dishonest police work was 
greater in revolutionary than in ordinary crime. And 
as regards the powers proposed for provincial govern- 
ments and their executive subordinates, it was certain 
that these powers, which could only be exercised after 
a special notification issued by the Supreme Government 
itself, would only be applied for with the greatest 
reluctance, and would be used with extreme caution 
under a fire of bitterly hostile criticism. 

In winding up the debate, the Home Member expressed 
an earnest hope that the passive resistance movement 
would not materialise. For Government to yield to 
such a movement would be to abdicate its authority. 
Sir William Vincent thanked the Moderate leaders for 
the manifesto which they had issued condemning Mr. 
Gandhi's declaration. He concluded : 

" My Lord, I have now very nearly done. I have 
only a word or two to add. The conscience of the 
Government in the matter of this legislation is quite 
clear. We are acting from a deep-rooted conviction 
that we are doing what is right. We have proposed 
the law to meet what we know to be a terrible danger. 
We have provided numerous safeguards in it so as, so 
far as is possible, to prevent any injustice occurring 
under it. We think that many members of this Council 
know in their heart of hearts what this danger is, and 
how formidable it is to peaceable residents in parts of 
the Province. 1 My only regret is that I have failed to 
convince more Honourable members of the necessity for 
this law, and this is a matter of greater regret because 

1 Sic according to the official report of the Debate. 


I feel it may be partly owing to some fault or deficiency 
in my presentment of the case/' 

As the Sedition Committee's Eeport showed, the 
atmosphere which swelled the ranks of the Bengal 
revolutionaries and facilitated their operations was 
largely created by newspapers and literature which 
constantly argued that British rule was tyrannical and 
ruinous. The astute authors of the revolutionary paper 
Yugantar had, thirteen years before, perceived that, 
in their own words, to give force to their movement, 
" the nature of the oppressor must be painted in bright 
colours and placed before the common people " ; and 
constantly the leaders of the party of violence have 
devoted close attention to drawing what support and 
assistance they could, not only from their own publica- 
tions, but from the contents of ordinary newspapers. 
A well-known revolutionary pamphlet shows how the 
" foreign department " of a big revolutionary associa- 
tion insisted on the importance of a regular study of the 
newspapers as essential for a recruit's training. 

There can be no doubt whatever that the bitter dia- 
tribes against the Sedition Bills, both in and outside 
the Imperial Legislative Council, supported by the 
false versions of their scope and meaning which were 
spread abroad, presented a remarkable opportunity to 
the enemies of the British Government. The following 
passage from the judgment of the Court, 1 which subse- 
quently tried the Lahore rioters, gives a clear picture 
of the manner in which the opportunity was used. 

' There may perhaps have been some few persons 
who believed that the Eowlatt Bills, if enacted, were 
liable to abuse, and doubtless a good many more were 
roused to opposition by the speeches in the Imperial 

1 The Court was one established after martial law had been enacted. 
It was a court of three, the senior a Chief Court judge. 


Council and the campaign in the press, but the bulk of 
the city population do not read newspapers and would 
have remained in complete ignorance, not merely of 
the objections to the Bills, but even of their existence, 
unless other steps had been taken to educate them. . . . 
But even of the educated few, hardly any one appears 
to have read or considered the Bills for himself, and 
it was not the business of any one to combat all or any 
of the lies and misrepresentations which were in circu- 
lation. It is true that at one meeting Gokal Chand 
did give reasons of a legal and technical kind for his 
objections to the first of the two Bills, but the class of 
persons who attended the Lahore meetings did not go 
there to hear legal arguments and did not carry them 
away. What they learnt generally was that in spite 
of the opposition of the whole of India, and in par- 
ticular of a saint named Gandhi, who, they were taught 
to believe, was the Kishi of the Hindus and the Wali of 
the Muhammadans, an alien government was trying to 
pass, and did pass an exceedingly harsh law which 
threatened the liberties of the humblest individuals ; 
and that unless all classes and religions united against 
the Government, there was no hope of averting the 
imminent peril. This teaching was enforced with all 
the arts of demagogues, who were unsparing in their 
abuse of a government which, they said, was meting 
out tyranny in return for loyalty and sacrifice. ... It 
was commonly believed that all and sundry, though 
innocent of all crime, would be arrested at the will of 
the police and condemned without trial ; that all 
assemblies of more than three or four people would be 
prohibited ; and that in some mysterious way even 
the women and children would be made to suffer." 

While preparations were thus sedulously made for 
certain trouble, Mr. Gandhi, at the head of his com- 
mittee of disciples, proclaimed a general closing of shops 
and suspension of business activity for March 30th. 
Subsequently he altered the day to April 6th; but 

DELHI 207 

on the former date occurred the first of a succession of 
tragedies more grievous in their nature and results than 
any that had befallen India since the days of the Mutiny. 

An unfortunate consequence of the transfer of the 
headquarters of the Imperial Government from Calcutta 
to Delhi has been that the Viceroy and his Councillors, 
Executive and Legislative, have left a big, cosmopolitan 
and partly Europeanised city, where even if one section 
of inhabitants becomes disaffected and gives trouble, 
it is balanced and countered by other sections, to dwell 
among a comparatively small, ignorant, and backward 
population of little variety, easily impressed by fiction 
and exaggeration. The people of Delhi had been atten- 
tive to the recent controversial debates, and from subse- 
quent occurrences it would seem that care was taken 
to intensify the impressions which they had received. 

The Legislative Council had broken up, and the heads 
of the Government of India had left Delhi, when on 
the morning of March 30th the shops of the city 
were closed as a protest against the passage of the 
Sedition Bill. Some shopkeepers who opened were in- 
duced to close again, and crowds in the streets exerted 
themselves to persuade drivers of cars to take their 
vehicles home, leaving passengers to walk. About 
1.30 p.m. a crowd assembled outside the railway station, 
and some members thereof entered and attempted to 
prevent the railway contractor who was supplying food 
to third-class passengers from carrying out his duties. 
He was told that he must recognise the hartal (stoppage 
of business). On refusing, he was assaulted. Two of 
his assailants were arrested, and the mob invaded the 
station in order to rescue them. The building was 
cleared by the police and some troops. A small party 
of British infantry was requisitioned from the Fort. 
The mob were driven off, throwing stones and bricks, 


but could not be dispersed ; and finally the additional 
District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, who 
were in charge of the police and military, considered that 
the further postponement of sterner measures would 
only lead to serious bloodshed. Two rounds of ammuni- 
tion were fired and two rioters fell. Then the crowd 
broke ; but, later on, heavy stoning of the police and of a 
small party of British infantry necessitated further firing. 
It was announced that eight men had been killed and 
twelve or thirteen were being treated for wounds at the 
civil hospital. Three days later a poster was discovered 
in the city inciting to murder. For some days shops 
were closed. Railway traffic, too, was obstructed. 

These incidents were the prelude to disturbances in 
other cities of India ; Mr. Gandhi had endeavoured to 
visit Delhi, but had been arrested and sent back to 
Bombay. He had been directed to remain in his own 
Presidency. The news of his arrest occasioned violent 
disturbances among the mill-hands at Ahmedabad, with 
whom his influence was particularly strong. A mob 
of these people set fire to and burnt Government offices, 
cut telegraph-wires, assaulted Europeans, beating a 
police-sergeant so severely that he died. In the neigh- 
bourhood a trainful of troops was derailed. At the 
town of Viramgaum an Indian Government official 
was burnt with kerosine oil. In Bombay itself Mr. 
Gandhi's Committee had advised that for the time 
being the laws regarding prohibited literature and 
registration . of newspapers might be civilly dis- 
obeyed. Forbidden literature was sold, but no riots 
occurred. In Calcutta riots resulted in loss of life 
and injury to police officials. There, however, all was 
speedily over, and no disturbance occurred anywhere 
else in Bengal, the province which was the main cause 
of the anti-sedition legislation, but for which there 


would have been no such law-making. But by far the 
most widespread and tragic occurrences took place in 
the Punjab. These incidents are about to form the 
subject of report by a special committee, 1 and I shall 
confine my narrative to some salient facts. The 
measures taken to suppress particular outbreaks are 
under investigations. 

Of the population of the Punjab, 55 per cent, is 
Muhammadan, 33 per cent, is Hindu, and 11 per cent, 
is Sikh. The most martial section is the Sikh, which, 
during the war, with less than one- hundredth * of the 
population, supplied about one-sixth of the fighting 
forces of the Indian Empire. 

The Eeport of the Sedition Committee shows how, 
in the year 1907, certain agitators belonging to the 
educated classes endeavoured to stir up trouble in the 
Punjab. In that year the Lieutenant-Governor re- 
ported to the Government of India that in certain towns 
an active anti-English propaganda was being openly 
and sedulously preached. His report ran : "In 
Lahore, the capital of the province, the propaganda is 
virulent, and has resulted in a more or less general state 
of serious unrest." He held that some of the leaders 
looked to driving the British out of the country, or, at 
any rate, from power, either by force or by the passive 
resistance of the people as a whole, and that the method 
by which they had set themselves to bring the Govern- 
ment machine to a standstill was by endeavouring to 
stir up intense racial hatred. 

In 1907 these men effected little ; but the snake was 
merely scotched, and in 1909 a stream of seditious 

1 So are the occurrences at Delhi and Ahmedabv.d. 

2 This was the proportion in September 1917. Afterwards special 
efforts were made with marked success to stimulate recruiting in the 
United Provinces, and the Punjab proportiona may have altered. 


literature issuing from Lahore necessitated preventive 
measures. A bomb-outrage was contrived in 1913, 
and in the same year a Lahore Muhammadan journalist 
published disloyal and inflammatory articles regarding 
a religious riot at Cawnpore. Early in 1914 the Turkish 
Consul-General came to Lahore to present to the prin- 
cipal mosque a carpet sent by order of the Sultan as a 
token of gratitude for subscriptions sent to the Turkish 
Red Crescent funds. He was followed a fortnight later 
by two Turkish doctors of the Red Crescent Society. 

Early in the war some Sikh returned emigrants from 
America committed a number of outrages, and, together 
with a Hindu belonging to the Bombay Presidency and 
a notorious Bengali revolutionary, planned simultaneous 
risings in various cities of the Punjab and other pro- 
vinces. Amritsar and Lahore were successively the 
headquarters of this conspiracy, which would have 
brought untold calamity on India in February 1915 
had it not been discovered and frustrated by the vigi- 
lance and energy of the Punjab authorities. The 
Sedition Committee Report tells how the plot was 
baffled, and how a state of incipient lawlessness and 
anarchy, which might well have caused irreparable 
damage to Great Britain, in a most critical hour, was 
terminated by the resolute and courageous adminis- 
tration of the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Michael O'Dwyer. 
Since 1915 all had been quiet in the Punjab. The con- 
tributions of the Province to the fighting forces of the 
Empire had been remarkable, and the Provincial 
Government had felt itself strong enough to release a 
number of interned suspects. The Sedition Committee, 
however, note that they had received sound " admoni- 
tion " from the following words of a Sikh official witness 
who appeared before them : ' There are thousands of 
persons who have returned to India with revolutionary 


ideas, 1 and only those against whom we had definite 
information were interned or restricted. The majority 
have perfect liberty/' 

With many of the inhabitants of the Punjab the in- 
terval between thought and action is short. If cap- 
tured by inflammatory harangues, they promptly give 
trouble. Unfortunately, too, in March 1919 they were 
suffering from bad harvests. Prices were very high, 
and the towns were full of economic discontent. Among 
the fanatical Muhammadan I lower orders rumours 
were current that unjust treatment had been meted 
out to Turkey. The opportunity was favourable for 
the enemies of the Government for another reason. It 
was widely believed that the war had left Great Britain 
weak and exhausted. Two leaders in one of the sub- 
sequent riots cried aloud that the British Raj was ex- 
tinct, and other evidence attests the currency of ideas of 
this kind. The following passages from an April letter 
to the Press, written by a loyal Muhammadan gentle- 
man, explains the use to which the occasion was put : 

'It has been with feelings of the acutest pain and 
distress that I have been persistently hearing and re- 
ceiving reports from almost unknowing and illiterate 
shopkeepers and neighbours, that Government has 
recently passed a Bill, under which powers have been 
given to the police to arrest any four persons talking 
or standing together in the bazar or before a shop, and 
that, therefore, the people are being asked by the so- 
called knowing leaders to practise hartal as a mark of 
protest against this kind of legislation. The laws 
referred to in these absolutely unfounded reports and 
black lies, that are being so sedulously spread, are 
obviously the Rowlatt Bills recently enacted as laws. 
No educated man, howsoever politically minded, will, 
for a moment, contend that the Rowlatt Bills are legis- 

1 See Appendix V, 


lation of this kind, empowering the police to raid any 
house inhabited by four or five persons or to arrest 
any four or five persons assembled together in the 
bazar or in the ' baithaks.' Who, then, is responsible 
for wholly false and mischievous misrepresentations of 
this land, and why are these being so freely and reck- 
lessly made ? The answer to the latter question is 
plain. Mr. Gandhi has unfortunately passed a message 
for the closing of all shops and the suspension of all 
business activity on Sunday, the 6th instant. The 
politically minded folk, who by an ironic stroke of evil 
fortune arrogate to themselves the right of being the 
mouthpiece of this loyal and contented, but, in the 
language of these people, this Extremist province, feel 
that a demonstration on Mr. Gandhi's lines must take 
place on the date appointed, else their reputed influ- 
ence with the people outside will suffer. So they decide 
to frave a hartal in the province on the date fixed, and, 
in order to bring this about, inflame the unknowing and 
illiterate by spreading mischievous reports of this kind. 
But themselves they lurk behind, and dare not come 
in the open. How many among these politically 
minded persons in this province have taken Mr. Gandhi's 
vow, and if they have not, probably so because Mr. 
Gandhi's propaganda is the absurdest ever launched in 
the history of political freedom, then why are they 
misleading the ignorant shopkeeper and tonga-plyer by 
all kinds of false and unfounded misrepresentations, 
and at their expense bringing about a false and spurious 
demonstration ? If the political workers in the Punjab 
believe that the Rowlatt Bills are nothing in the shape 
of what they are being represented to the ignorant 
public, and I have no doubt that no man in his senses 
will have the courage or unfairness to say otherwise, then 
do they not owe it a duty to their province and their 
conscience to publicly contradict these mischievous 
rumours, which are being spread in the interest of Mr. 
Gandhi's agitation ? 
" So much to the political workers of this province. I 


have a word also to say to those who, possessed of material 
stakes in the peace and orderly progress of this country, 
have as much a right to political opinions as any set 
of fictitious workers. Why are they sitting with their 
hands folded, passive observers of a scene which should 
wake them to a sense of their duty ? Passive resist- 
ance, let there be no misunderstanding, is active 
resistance, and they must condemn it with as much 
violence as they would condemn an open revolution. I 
would, therefore, appeal to all public associations in 
this province to address themselves immediately to the 
task which is their supreme duty at this hour, and un- 
hesitatingly condemn this direct challenge to British 
laws, which spell the veriest justice and the freedom 
which results from their obedience." . . . 

On April 6th, the date fixed by Mr. Gandhi, there 
was a complete suspension of business in Lahore. 1 A 
procession had been forbidden, but a crowd collected 
and threatened to become unmanageable. An adver- 
tised meeting was held, and was addressed by various 
speakers. The authorities were carefully watching the 
situation, and no disturbance occurred. Business was 
resumed on the 7th. On the 9th the annual Earn 
Naumi (Hindu religious) procession was held. Speeches 
were made advocating Hindu and Muhammadan unity. 
On the afternoon of the 10th news arrived of disturb- 
ances in the city of Amritsar and of murders of Euro- 
peans. The arrest of Mr. Gandhi had also been an- 
nounced. A fresh suspension of business was started. 
Shops were shut, often by no means willingly. Leaflets 
and posters had prepared the way, and crowds insisted 
on a general closure. In the evening a large mob tried 
to invade the European quarter, wrecked the telegraph 
office, and was only dispersed by firing. On the morn- 

1 I have carefully consulted the judgments of the Courts that tried the 
Lahore and Amritsar rioters, 


ing of the llth a mass meeting of Hindus and Muham- 
madans was held in a famous mosque. This was an 
unprecedented occurrence, and provoked very strong 
subsequent Muhammadan censure. On breaking up, 
the meeting degenerated into a disorderly and mis- 
chievous rabble. A crowd marched through the streets 
shouting, among other cries, that the King was dead, 
and destroying pictures of their Majesties. On the 
12th it was necessary to disperse another riotous crowd 
by firing. The shops remained closed, and were not 
opened until the city was placed under martial law. 

The disturbances at Amritsar had been still more 
serious. Two leading lawyer agitators had been de- 
ported on the morning of the 10th by order of the 
Local Government. This led to an immediate suspen- 
sion of business. A mob collected and attempted to 
enter the civil lines, where they at once attacked the 
telegraph office. It was necessary to fire before they 
could be turned back. Sections then went to the rail- 
way goods shed and murdered a European guard. In 
the city they burnt and plundered the National Bank, 
murdering the British agents in charge thereof. They 
sacked another bank, murdered the agent, burnt the 
town hall and the Indian Christian Church, attacked 
buildings, and violently assaulted other Europeans, 
including two ladies. But for the action of some loyal 
Indians they would have done more. They destroyed 
telegraph wires and tore up. railway lines. Some 
degree of order was restored; but the country round 
was greatly disturbed, and on the 13th, in Amritsar, 
a prohibited meeting was attended by a large crowd. 
This was dispersed by rifle fire with heavy casualties. 1 " 
At Kasur, in the neighbourhood, on the 12th, a mob, 
worked up by speeches delivered on that and the 

1 This was the Jallianwala Bagh affair now sub judice. 


previous day, invaded and wrecked the railway 
station, attacked an incoming train, murdered two 
warrant officers, assaulted and injured two other mili- 
tary officers and two corporals, assaulted a European 
railway official and his wife, all passengers in the 
train, burnt the post office and a judicial court, 
and were finally dispersed by fire from the police. 
The Court that tried the accused men found that of 
them, two had shown mercy to the railway official, 
to his wife and children, but that the safety of these 
persons was due to the intervention of an Indian 
gentleman, Mr. Khair-ud-Din, examiner of accounts. 

Martial law was declared in Lahore and Amritsar 
on the 15th. But disorder had spread to other towns 
and to villages adjoining towns. Wires were cut ; 
railway lines were breached ; two churches were burnt ; 
Government property was attacked ; Europeans were 
assaulted. By the 17th martial law was in working order 
in four districts. Afterwards it was extended to a wider 
area. By degrees order was re-established. From April 
10th to the 17th railways and telegraph systems had been 
subjected to repeated and organised attacks. Isolated 
railway strikes had been engineered ; two passenger 
troop-trains were derailed, in one case with loss of life. 

During the disturbances a number of railway stations 
were attacked and either destroyed or damaged. 

Mr. Gandhi from Bombay regretted that when he 
embarked upon a mass movement he underrated " the 
forces of evil." He was, however, convinced that 
Satyagraha (insistence on truth, alias passive resist- 
ance) had nothing to do with the violence of the mob. 
Nevertheless, he advised his Satyagrahi followers tem- 
porarily to suspend civil disobedience and to assist the 
Government in restoring order. 1 In his opinion " there 

1 M?. Gandhi also personally assisted in restoring order at Ahmedabad, 


were clever men behind the lawless deeds, and they 
showed concerted action." Mr. Gandhi, however, 
possesses plenty of intelligence himself, and can hardly 
have failed to notice either the rapid exacerbation of 
racial feeling which followed on his propaganda or the 
probability of results such as those actually achieved. 
But, after so much tragedy, even in May he contem- 
plated a resumption of civil disobedience in July, and 
has since been reported to advocate this remedy for the 
Khalifat question. 

Mrs. Besant, who was shocked by recent develop- 
ments, and had vigorously opposed Mr. Gandhi's action, 
declared that the Rowlatt Act had been largely changed 
by the Legislative Council. There was nothing in it 
that a good citizen could object to. 1 She had combated 
the passive resistance movement on the ground that it 
would lead to a general disregard of law and conse- 
quently to riots and bloodshed. She admitted the 
existence of revolutionary movements in certain parts 
of the country, and considered it the duty of all leaders 
to assist the Government in putting down violence. 
These utterances gave great offence to many of her 
former followers. 

A glance at the map of India will show that no pro- 
vince but the Punjab was seriously affected by these 
disturbances, although there were riots in a very few 
cities of other provinces. By far the gravest of these 

1 It would appear that subsequently, after arriving in England, Mrs. 
Besant forgot this declaration. In a pamphlet headed " The Case for 
India," published in London by the Home Rule for India League, she 
thus referred to the Rowlatt legislation. " The Rowlatt Act, nominally 
aimed at Revolutionaries, may be put into force on the mere opinion of 
the Governor-General in Council that any movement has a tendency in 
a revolutionary direction, and we know, by the administration of the 
Defence of India Act, how the most legitimate political movement can 
be thus suspected. Once in force in any district, the liberty of every 
individual in it lies at the mercy of the Local Government," 


riots was that at Ahmedabad. There were many meet- 
ings of protest against the Sedition Bill in towns 
throughout India, for fantastic ideas of its provisions 
were everywhere circulated. But the greater part of 
these meetings dissolved harmlessly enough. They 
were convened by persons who had no wish to instigate 

The Punjab disturbances closely resembled in char- 
acter the violent outbreak at Ahmedabad, but were 
much more extensive and determined. How far this 
circumstance was due to careful and deliberate prepara- 
tion will be determined by the Disorders Committee. 
Newspapers have denounced Bolshevist intrigue as the 
malignant inspiration. But I have shown clearly that 
we need not go so far to find at least some seeds of the 
terrible calamity that overtook a province with so fine 
a war record. A mass of inflammable material had 
accumulated, and we shall know later what actually 
produced the conflagration. 

Although the area of the riots covers a very small 
place on the map of India, this conflagration was of 
the gravest nature, and, had it not been speedily arrested, 
would have spread with incalculable results. It would 
seem that only the prompt proclamation of martial law 
saved a rapidly developing situation of extreme moment. 1 
Even as things were, the outbreaks encouraged in- 
vasion from Afghanistan and involved incidents of the 
deepest tragedy. Their eventual consequences are not 
yet apparent. 

The riotous mobs were, so far as present information 
goes, mainly composed of low-class and disorderly ele- 

1 Three farewell addresses presented to Sir Michael O'Dwyer at Lahore 
on May 12th by deputations from the Hindus, Sikhs, and Muhammadans 
of the Punjab, bore grateful testimony to his administration. Each 
alluded specially to these disturbances. 


ments from cities and from villages adjacent to lines of 
railway. There was also some admixture of students. 
All had been worked on and excited by political 
agitators. It is important to see who stood by the 
British whole-heartedly in this hour of need. 

For solid assistance the Punjab Government was 
indebted to its own ruling chiefs and to the Indian 
Army and police, all of whom maintained the reputation 
for steadfast loyalty which they had borne throughout 
the war. 

The landholders, too, generally stood by the autho- 
rities. A strong manifesto was issued by their asso- 
ciation bitterly condemning the passive resistance 
movement, and exhorting all members of the community 
to assist Government to restore order. So far it 
appears that only a few Sikhs joined the rioters. The 
attitude of the Sikh community generally was loyal. 
In the words of Sir Michael O'Dwyer, " Sikh gentlemen, 
Sikh soldiers, and Sikh peasants, at the risk of their 
lives, saved European ladies who had been attacked, 
conducted to places of safety others who had been in 
danger, and rescued wounded British soldiers from the 
roused fury of the mob/' Other Indians, too, acted in 
a similar manner. 

The Moderate politicians at Lahore did all they could 
to assist Government after the disturbances had broken 
out, but had not endeavoured to counteract the scan- 
dalous lies that had long been previously circulated 
regarding the purport and provisions of the Sedition Act. 

In view of its material bearing on the lamentable 
course of events, the attitude of the Moderate leaders 
generally, from September 1918 to May 1919, in 
regard to the Sedition legislation and the subsequent 
riots, calls for a brief review. 

It may clearly be inferred that when the report of the 


Sedition Committee first came before the Imperial 
Legislative Council in September 1918, the non-official 
members as a body were prepared to accept it as a con- 
vincing exposition of facts, and to consider its recom- 
mendations in a fair and reasonable spirit. They had 
no idea then that for the Government to act on those 
recommendations would mean ingratitude for Indian 
participation in the war. It had not then occurred to 
them that to take effective means to suppress a noxious 
and dangerous form of crime practised by a very small 
section of the population could spell failure to recognise 
the loyal and gallant services of many thousands and 
the attitude of the country at large. This imagined 
connection was a subsequent, most unhappy, inspira- 
tion, born of outside pressure and newspaper dia- 
tribes. After the September debate the Government 
had reason to suppose that immediate legislative action 
was desirable on every ground. And even when they 
produced their Bills and met with unanimous opposi- 
tion, they might well hope that, by all concessions 
possible, short of practical surrender, they would be 
able to secure the support of the Moderate section of 
the Opposition. They spared no pains to accomplish 
this. Surrender they could not. They were face to 
face with indefeasible obligations. Had they abjured 
these, they would have run away from their duty to 
protect the rising generation of educated Indians from 
ruinous influences and to safeguard the lives and pro- 
perty of innocent persons and loyal public servants. 
They would have abandoned the future of India to 
intimidation by the most violent and unscrupulous 
section of political opinion. 

It is impossible to suppose that the leaders of the 
Moderates on the Legislative Council did not clearly 
perceive this. They were well aware of realities in 


Bengal, and of the absolute need of the help which it lay 
in their power to give to a Government which had by 
initiation of, and perseverance in an advanced Reforms 
Scheme established a peculiar claim on their co-opera- 
tion. They knew that so far from not caring to enlist 
political support in their contest with revolutionary 
conspiracy, Lord Chelmsford and his advisers had all 
along, from the very commencement of that contest, 
been at elaborate pains to ensure it. Two high-caste 
Hindus, .one a Congress man, had been appointed to 
the Sedition Committee itself, a committee of only five 
members. That committee's Report had conclusively 
demonstrated what, indeed, was perfectly well known 
already, that desperate diseases require effectual 
preventives, as well as " satisfying methods of political 
emancipation/' There can, in short, be no doubt that 
the Moderate leaders were under no delusion. Nor 
were they blinded by racial passion. What did they 

They promptly repudiated Mr. Gandhi's movement, 
but in other matters remained generally passive. 
They did nothing to counteract the false impressions 
that were spreading abroad of the purport and contents 
of the Sedition Bill. If they spoke of it, they denounced 
it. When the riots began, they blamed the rioters, but 
devoted their main energies to censuring the measures 
of suppression adopted by the Government. Martial 
law should be abrogated ; the Sedition Act must be 
repealed ; a policy of surrender must be at once 
adopted. From January onwards they yielded to a 
rising tide and failed to act in a manner which would 
have inspired confidence in their ability to take a 
courageous line in that difficult future to which 
India is committed. It is certain that unless they 
can take and keep such a line, they will never bring 


into active politics that large class of well-disposed, 
educated, silent opinion which was alluded to in the 
Bengal manifesto quoted in my last chapter and 
should count for so much. 1 Only a persevering decided 
lead for good or bad will ever win the day in Indian 
politics. One Moderate, however, had, before the 
Delhi Sessions, spoken out boldly regarding the preven- 
tion of revolutionary crime. At the January debate of 
the Bengal Legislative Council, already alluded to, Mr. 
P. C. Mitter, an ex-member of the Sedition Committee 
itself, had said : 

* These murders and dacoities took place, and they 
have ceased as soon as vigorous action was taken under 
the Defence of India Act. I am not here to deal with 
the question whether any change of the Defence of 
India Act is necessary or not, because the particular 
proposition before the House is whether these persons 
ought to be released or not. If the ordinary laws of 
the country are not sufficient in dealing with crimes 
like this, and if the extraordinary powers under the 
Defence of India Act really stamped out the crimes 
which were a disgrace to society crimes which every 
patriotic Indian ought to feel sorry for and if the 
operations of the Defence of India Act have to a great 
extent stamped out these crimes, then how can any 
responsible public man suggest to nullify the results 
of such action, and to let society go back to that state 
of anarchy in which it was before such vigorous actions 
were taken ? I entirely endorse the view put forward 
by the honourable mover that we have a responsibility 
to our people and to ourselves. I only hope that that 
responsibility will enable us to see that it is our duty 
to protect innocent people from being shot down, and 
to see that the man, who by the fruits of his industry 
has made some money, is not ruthlessly pillaged. It 
is not a question of amnesty or mercy, but it is a ques- 

1 See page 168. 


tion of the necessities of society, and if necessities' of 
society require that certain persons, who are nothing 
better than a cancer to the body politic, should be 
treated in a particular way, it is necessary in the in- 
terest of the body politic to treat them in that way. 
I do hope, My Lord, that if we are to realise our re- 
sponsibilities, if the Reform Scheme is to be a reality 
for the future well-being of our country, I do hope 
that gentlemen of the position of the honourable mover 
will try and come up to that standard of responsibility 
for which I am pleading." 

Had the Moderate leaders on the Imperial Legislative 
Council acted in the spirit of these stirring words, there 
would have been no colourable pretext for the allega- 
tion that the Bills were humiliating to the loyal citizens 
of India. Neither the Bolshevist nor the Afghan 
invader could have pretended that India was united in 
opposition to a Bill passed for the prevention of revo- 
lutionary crime. The Government would have received 
the support which it had a right to expect from all well- 
disposed sections of Indians, and the only persons who 
would have felt aggrieved would have been those men 
who for years have steadily laboured to sow the seeds 
which sooner or later were sure to bring forth a crop 
such as that which was reaped in April 1919. 


BRITAIN is pledged to establish a democratic system of 
government over two- thirds of India, the most con- 
servative country in the world. These two-thirds pos- 
sess a population composed of various races following 
various religions and speaking various languages. The 
great majority of these people, whose numbers are equal 
to two and a half times the population of the United 
States, are extremely ignorant and entirely unused to 
any form of political ambition. They are engrossed in 
their private and caste affairs. Britain does not mean 
to restore British India to the descendants of the chiefs 
and kings whom she succeeded. Nor does any class of 
Indians ask for such a restoration. She does not pur- 
pose to set up parliaments which will merely represent 
the literary and pacific, the present political classes. 
Such parliaments would crumble to pieces as soon as 
they ceased to receive constant British support. Her 
aim is to hand over eventually the direction of domestic 
affairs in British India to parliaments springing from, 
and effectually representative of, all classes. If this 
goal be eventually reached, if India gradually develops 
into a loyal, prosperous, well-governed, and self-govern- 
ing country within the circle of the British Empire, 
a great service will have been rendered to humanity. 
But many and great difficulties lie in the way, and if 
these are to be successfully encountered, stock should 



be taken of the actual conditions under which the first 
stage of the journey is to be attempted. These will 
best be appreciated if we trace briefly the course of 
Indian political progress on Western lines, and the 
attitude of the British Government toward such pro- 

There is ample proof that the gradual extension of 
British rule in India was welcomed by the majority of 
the population. Especially was it welcomed by the 
masses, by the agriculturists, who found themselves 
assured of reaping the fruits of their labours, shielded 
from plunder and violence, and protected from arbi- 
trary exactions ; by the low castes and outcastes, who 
found themselves equal to Brahmans even, in the eye 
of the law, and often the objects of charitable or mis- 
sionary effort. It is, indeed, through the influence of 
the spirit of British rule that these people have learnt 
to respect themselves as they never respected them- 
selves before. British rule was also acceptable to the 
majority of the very classes who now so frequently 
expatiate on its defects. Indeed, these classes, with 
the .exception of the strong Brahman element which 
they contain, own their own present prominence to 
British rule. They would lose it at once if Britain 
withdrew from the country. 

The Mutiny was a rebellion of discontented soldiery 
encouraged by the representatives of some fallen 
dynasties. Many of the East India Company's regi- 
ments became persuaded that we had ceased to pay 
regard to Indian religions, customs, and ideas ; they 
thought that our power was illusory or had declined. 
So they rose and were followed by those elements in 
the ordinary population which are always ready to 
take advantage of internal commotion. The villagers 
generally fought among themselves. The population 

of Oudh, recently annexed and in the centre of Hin- 
dustan, followed the lead of its large landholders, whom 
we had foolishly endeavoured to displace summarily 
in pursuit of the idea that they were grasping middle- 
men. We profited by the lessons of the Mutiny. We 
did not alter our system of government, for that had 
not been called in question. But we discarded some of 
our maxims. We no longer annexed ruling states on 
account of misgovernment or the failure of heirs by 
blood of the reigning house. We respected the titles 
of de facto landlords. We reassured all Indians of our 
intention to interfere in no way with their religions, 
and we strengthened the British Army in India. For 
the first time we associated Indians with us in legisla- 
tion. These were men of rank and few in number, for 
the people of India had always considered that there 
should be a well-defined governing class and a governed 
class. With them religious prestige, valour in arms, 
pride of birth, were the things that mattered. 

It may seem that we were late in seeking such associa- 
tion ; but before we blame our fathers, to whom both 
India and ourselves owe so much, let us remember that 
when, aided by Indians, they built up an empire out of 
confusion, the country had, as was frankly stated by 
an Indian professor at the Industrial Conference of 1909, 
" ever been foreign to democratic and representative 
institutions such as those dominant in Western coun- 
tries/' We may note, too, that until the time of the 
Mutiny the British were constantly busy with wars 
waged for the protection of their territories or their 
allies, with organisation and construction, with im- 
proving the communications of a vast continent, with 
arranging and classifying land tenures, with introduc- 
ing that education which, in the words of Dadabhai 
Naoroji was " to pour a new light on the people of 


India/' with framing a system of just and intelligible 
laws, with maintaining and enforcing order. When we 
see how troubled and anxious were the years of the 
Governor-Generals from Warren Hastings to Lord 
Canning, we rather marvel at what was achieved than 
are surprised that the achievements were accompanied 
by omissions and mistakes. If British rule in those 
years was autocratic, it attracted the good will of the 
great majority of its subjects, was organised on the 
immemorial pattern of Asia, 1 was carefully controlled 
by laws, and in the interests of peace, security, and 
unity, was the only form of government practicable 
in the India of that time. 

After the Mutiny, reconstruction and improvement 
for years absorbed the energies of British administrators. 
A new India, developed by British capital, enriched 
by British commerce, and fostered by British educa- 
tion, gradually took shape; and in that new India 
the paramount position of the British seemed at first 
perfectly natural. It was this position that secured 
the greater happiness of by far the greater number. 
All the classes of Indians whose sole objects in 
life are commerce, agriculture, labour, or other ordinary 
material pursuits, were contented. Their attitude of 
mind is shown by the introductory article to the record 
of the proceedings of the second Congress summarised 
in my Chapter II. 1 They cared for no change in a form 
of government which prevented others from robbing 
them and " by its system of civil jurisprudence " 
afforded them opportunities of enriching themselves. 
They did not understand that anything was wrong, nor 
did they know what could be done to improve their 
prospects. It may be said of all these classes, which 
form the large majority of the people of India, that 

1 See Appendix VII. 2 See pages 37-8. 


although they had few representatives on legislative 
councils, they were informally consul ted by Government 
officers regarding any law-making which was likely to 
affect their interests, that in these officers they found 
impartial arbiters and friendly advisers. 

But there was a very small, though growing, minority 
with wider ambitions. Certain sects of Brahmans had 
lost their ascendancy in things political, and longed to 
recover it. The clerical and professional classes in 
towns found that prices were rising, that all but suc- 
cessful lawyers or Government servants of distinction 
must content themselves with moderate prospects and 
moderate incomes. They read Western newspapers 
and watched the strife of British politics and events in 
the rest of the world outside India. Sometimes they 
sent their sons to England. Sometimes they were 
assured that behind them in the early years, before the 
foreigner came, lay the golden age of India. British 
rule seemed uninteresting, and the memories of pre- 
vious oppression had grown faint. The courts of the 
old rulers, with all their defects, had offered frequent 
spectacles, unexpected chances, and sometimes remark- 
"' able preferment. An ambitious man might push or 
intrigue himself into a post of power and thus provide 
for all those relatives who hang so heavily on many an 
Indian householder. There were no codes or regula- 
tions ; there were no British ideas of inflexible im- 
partiality ; there was no colour-bar. 

To such discontents were added ideas imported from 
British politics, as well as a certain racial resentment. 
Altogether a more interesting outlook was desired ; 
and when the Congress movement started, it soon met 
with warm support. Gradually the annual December 
oratorical festivals took the place of fairs and caste- 
gatherings, as the relaxations of many of the English- 


educated classes. The leaders at those festivals spoke 
in louder and bolder tones. The only Indian journalists 
belonged to their fraternity. 

I have endeavoured to show in this narrative why 
the British Government was cautious in responding to 
a demand for a parliamentary system from so small a 
fraction of the general population. The ambition for a 
larger share in the executive administration was under- 
stood more easily. From time to time efforts were made 
to meet it. But the reduction of the small British 
official element in a vast continent which not long 
before had been the scene of a violent struggle could 
not be lightly contemplated, for even now, unless this 
element be substantially maintained, Indian executive 
and judicial officers will often, in times of political or 
fanatical unrest, find themselves in positions where 
social and religious pressure will make it difficult for 
them to do their duty. They are subject to attacks 
by which British officers cannot be reached. Moreover, 
it must be frankly said that without an effective staff 
of British officers the intentions and policy of the 
British Government will be liable to serious miscon- 

The public services, however, have been and are 
being gradually Indianised. Constitutional reforms, 
too, in the direction of associating a popular element 
with the Government, were instituted in April 1892. 
For long these seemed sufficient ; but social forces 
were shifting. The leadership of the great landed 
proprietors, so strong in 1885, was steadily declining. 
They were becoming impoverished by constant litiga- 
tion. They persistently neglected to educate their 
sons properly, and clung desperately to the ways of 
their fathers, relying on the shelter and protection of 
the British Government. 


The clerical and professional classes, on the other 
hand, were steadily progressing in influence. Popular 
voting in a limited measure had come with district and 
municipal boards ; newspapers were increasing ; popular 
oratory was beginning. Indian lawyers were growing 
in numbers. Many were unable to find sufficient em- 
ployment. The restlessness of these classes was en- 
hanced by the unpractical character of much of their 
education, by the maxims which they drew from English 
history and literature, by some measure of religious 
and social unrest, and by a scarcity of commercial and 
industrial openings. This restlessness gradually in- 
creased, until it was fanned into a flame by a violent 
political agitation and developed a revolutionary ele- 
ment. It was largely met for a time by the Morley- 
Minto reforms. But the events attendant on a world- 
wide war, and nationalism widely preached, have taken 
political ambitions in tow, and have lately dragged 
them along at an unprecedented pace. 

It may be said of both Moderates and Extremists 
that they greatly underrate certain considerations which 
the British Government must face even in these days 
of widely preached " self-determination," and even if, 
in the words of Mr. Lloyd George, " the world is rush- 
ing along at a giddy pace, covering the track of cen- 
turies in a year." It is certain that the educational 
and social conditions of the great body of the Indian 
peoples have not largely advanced since the year 1908, 
when those reforms were announced which were so 
gratefully received and did in fact open the way to a 
speedier prominence of the political classes than had 
till then been contemplated by their most sanguine 
leaders. Hindu society is still divided into castes and 
sub-castes, to a great extent rigidly separated from 
each other by customs, occupations, and social status. 


With very few exceptions they neither intermarry 
nor can eat together. There are still in India many 
millions of wholly ignorant cultivators and labourers 
who carry on most of the work of the country. India 
is still " a vast continent inhabited by 315,000,000 of 
people sprung from various racial stocks, professing a 
variety of religious creeds, in various stages of intel- 
lectual and moral growth/' l In short, however rapid 
may have been the recent progress of Indian political 
ambitions, disaster must come should Britain refuse to 
look at Indian political problems from the plane of 
reason. They cannot be decided merely by reference 
to abstract principles. 

As regards British attitude toward Indian progress 
in the past, testimony is available in the speeches of the 
Presidents of the memorable political meetings of 1916. 

' There is," said Mr. Jinnah on the part of the Muslim 
League, " first the great fact of the British rule in 
India with its Western character and standards of 
administration, which, while retaining absolute power 
of initiative, direction, and decision, has maintained for 
many decades unbroken peace and order in the land, 
administered even-handed justice, brought the Indian 
mind, through a widespread system of Western educa- 
tion, into contact with the thoughts and ideals of the 
West, and thus led to the birth of a great and living 
movement for the intellectual and moral regeneration 
of the people." 

Mr. Mazumdar for the Congress carried the story on. 

" It was this government," he said, referring to the 
Government of the Crown after the Mutiny, " which, 
actuated by its benevolent intentions, introduced, by 
slow degrees, various reforms and changes which 
gradually broadened and liberalised the administration, 
and restored peace and order throughout the country. 

1 See page 122. 


In its gradual development it introduced, though in a 
limited form, self-government in the local concerns of 
the people, admitted the children of the soil to a limited 
extent into the administration of the country, and 
reformed the Councils by introducing an appreciable 
element of representation in them. It has annihilated 
time and space by the construction of railways and the 
establishment of telegraphic communication. It has 
established a form of administration which in its 
integrity and purity could well vie with that of any 
other civilised country in the world, while the security 
of life and property which it conferred was, until lately, 
a boon of which any people may be justly proud/' 

It is obvious from the quotations contained in Chap- 
ter IV that these two gentlemen said other things of a 
less appreciative kind ; but what can be more signifi- 
cant than such clear admissions ? That Britain has 
been cautious in responding to Indian aspirations for 
progress on Western democratic lines may at once be 
admitted. She had good reason to be. That she has 
been wilfully obscurantist and ungenerous may be 
promptly denied. And if now she hesitates, uncertain 
as to how best to legislate for radical changes, she does 
so because the warning conveyed by the adage " Marry 
in haste and repent at leisure " applies with peculiar 
force to law-making which will profoundly affect the 
whole future of both countries. 

The present system, the system of administration 
responsible only to the parliament of Great Britain, has 
carried India through the Great War so successfully as 
to vindicate itself effectually from many of the re- 
proaches frequently levelled against it. It does not, 
however, satisfy the aspirations of the Indian Nationa- 
list ; and as he generally belongs to the middle or pro- 
fessional classes, it is useful to note that his grievance 
against it is often economic. His standard of living is 


rising, but the cost of living is rising too. He thinks 
that he is impoverished, and that his country is drained 
by foreign rule. His reasoning is based on the follow- 
ing facts : 

The number of English-educated men is too numerous 
for the public services and the legal profession. Al- 
though the services are increasingly manned by Indians, 
they can never provide for the number who crave 
admission. The Bar is overcrowded, and while offer- 
ing large fortunes to some, yields to many a bare 
pittance. Other possible callings are the medical and 
scholastic. There is a widespread need of good doctors 
and of efficient enthusiastic teachers. But of these the 
quantity is limited. Physicians of the old school largely 
retain their patients, and the Indian medical graduate 
has no idea of working up a rural practice. School- 
masters of the ordinary kind are over-plentiful, poorly 
paid, and frequently discontented with a prof ession which 
they only adopted as a last resource. Industrial enter- 
prise is, so far, scarce in the interior of India, and many 
youths have received an education which disinclines 
them for business and commercial callings. All marry 
young, whatever may be their prospects. Hindus are 
compelled to do this by religious obligations. All read 
in the newspapers that foreign rule is the cause of their 
difficulties and their poverty. They are told that it 
causes severer famines, although no statement can be 
remoter from fact ; that it is responsible for epidemics, 
although these spring from the climate and the in- 
sanitary habits of the people. 1 Too often their own 

1 The meteorological authorities inform us that within the past 250 
years no change can have occurred in the climate of India. Failures of 
the monsoon were as great before as since fifty years ago, and must in- 
evitably have produced famines far more desolating than those which 
have occurred since the introduction and extension of railways, and 
since the whole science of famine relief has been developed by the British, 


narrow circumstances dispose them to accept these re- 
iterated assertions. There can be no doubt that the 
spread of revolutionary ideas in Bengal schools and 
colleges is partly attributable to the miserable salaries 
of many of the teachers in these institutions. The 
views of such men are coloured by grinding poverty and 
deleterious literature. Sometimes they take to jour- 
nalism and eke out a scanty living by diffusing the ideas 
which they have imbibed. 

The legal and learned professions contain many 
members who are poor and feel acutely any rise of 
prices. 1 Outside these callings are many middle-class 
youths who have received English education, often at 
considerable cost and sacrifice to their parents, but 
are unable to obtain university degrees or similar hall- 
marks. They have to look outside law for a livelihood, 
and cannot obtain well-paid educational posts. The 
bent of their training has unfitted them for agriculture, 
the great business of the country, even if they come 
of an agricultural stock. They are unwilling to accept 
salaries which content relatives who have not learnt 
English at all. Industrial employers expect them to 
begin at the bottom of the ladder. This they are often 
extremely reluctant to do. But they too have married 
young, and are constrained by necessity. Sometimes 
they find their way into newspaper offices. Sometimes 
they obtain ill-paid clerkships. Generally they take 
what they can get, often persuaded that were it not 
for alien rule they would be better off. 

The British Government has again and again endeavoured to combat 
epidemics and the causes of epidemics. Few executive officers of long 
district experience have failed to take part in prolonged combats with 
plague or cholera. 

1 The author some years ago visited a school in Bengal where a teacher 
of long service and proved efficiency could only afford cooked food once 
a day. Similar privation was common. 


The difficulties of the professional middle classes 
have been enhanced by a great rise of prices accom- 
panied by a growing preference for European comforts 
and methods of living. If things are ever to be other- 
wise, if all these young men are ever to know kinder 
fortunes, prudential considerations must be allowed a 
voice in their matrimonial arrangements, their educa- 
tion must broaden and improve, 1 and their prospects 
of industrial employment must expand. No such 
expansion, however, can be anticipated until Indian 
money grows far more venturesome. It seldom finances 
industrial enterprises which are not conducted by 
Europeans. It often remains persistently in barren 

Within the past four years no less than 1,200,000,000 
of rupees have been drawn from the Indian mints. Sir 
James Meston, the Finance member of the Government, 
remarked in March 1919 that, unless this continuing 
panic were checked and the hoarded coin were restored 
to circulation, the whole basis of Indian currency and 
exchange policy would be reconsidered. It is the shy- 
ness of Indian capital, especially in regard to Indian 
enterprise, that leaves so many inlets for the foreign 
money and foreign enterprise often lamented by news- 
papers and politicians on the ground that the profits 
therefrom leave the country. But the young men of 
India are seldom told this. On the contrary, they hear 
such complaints as the following : 

Some years ago an enlightened gentleman of Bom- 
bay, while frankly admitting that India owes her rail- 
ways and thereby her new nationalism to English 
capital, went on to grumble, because so much of that 
capital was extracting petroleum from Burma, coal 

1 The recommendations of the Calcutta University Committee have 
prepared the way for radical reform. 


from Bengal, and gold from Mysore. The profits of 
this enterprise, he explained, went away from India, 
and Indian interests would best be served if the gold 
and petroleum were left underground to await the 
indigenous enterprise which would come with progres- 
sive regeneration. Lord Curzon thus referred to mur- 
murs of this kind : 

' When I hear the employment of British capital in 
India deplored, I feel tempted to ask where without it 
would have been Calcutta ? Where would have been 
Bombay ? Where would have been our railways, our 
shipping, our river navigation, our immense and pros- 
perous trade ? And why should a different argument 
be applied to India from any other country in the 
world ? When Great Britain poured her wealth into 
South America and China, I never heard those countries 
complain that they were being ruined. No one pities 
Egypt when a foreign nation resuscitates her trade and 
dams the Nile." 

In fact, India " has benefited enormously by her 
commercial development in British hands. " l But far 
more remains to be achieved. India has a great reserve 
of strength in her large command of raw material, but 
Europe has now far less capital to spare. If Indian 
capital be not forthcoming in larger measure, India will 
not develop industrially as she should, and substantial 
expansion of employment for her educated youth cannot 
be anticipated. Incidentally we may note how neces- 
sary it is that reasonable calm should prevail in politics 
if Indian capital is to require less coaxing forth and 
outside money is to be attracted at a cheap rate of 
interest. As regards the competition of British with 
Indian capital we may quote the remarks of an acute 
critic : * 

"Is it true that the resources of the country are 

1 Montagu-Chelmsford Report, ' Mr. William Archer. 


being exploited, or nearly so, by Europeans ? When 
one has seen the palaces of merchants and manufacturers 
round Bombay and Ahmedabad, and the Calcutta 
mansions of the landlords enriched by the permanent 
settlement of Bengal, one has a little difficulty in com- 
passionating these ' hewers of wood and drawers of 
water/ Almost all of the 200 to 250 cotton mills 
(mostly in the Bombay Presidency) have been built by 
Indian capital, and if the sixty to seventy jute mills in 
Bengal are mainly in European hands, that is certainly 
not because Bengalis have no money to embark in such 
enterprises. It is true that coal mines, tea plantations, 
and gold mines are, for the most part, owned by Euro- 
peans ; but Indian capital and enterprise are largely 
employed in the production of silk, paper, timber, flour, 
in oil pressing, and in carpet weaving. It is not the 
fact that European enterprise has elbowed Indian 
enterprise aside ; it may rather be said to have flowed 
in where the lack of Indian enterprise (far more than 
the lack of Indian capital) left gaps for it to fill ; and 
it is the fact that Indians are year by year securing a 
larger share of the import and export trade of the 

To discuss the whole subject of the alleged drain 
would be beyond the scope of this chapter. I have 
shown why India has required the foreign capital for 
which she has had such excellent value. Another 
grievance often reiterated is the amount of the sums 
sent out of the country in pensions and private remit- 
tances to England. For these India has had her 
return in the work of British officials who have not 
spared themselves in her service. Were it not for the 
labour of these men, for the protection which the pre- 
sence of the British in India has afforded to the country, 
the foreign capitalist would not have lent his money 
at the rate which he has accepted, nor would the local 
financier have done as much as he has done. 


The Indian student hears much of the loss which 
India has sustained from the commercial policy of the 
East India Company and from the competition of the 
organised and scientific processes of British industry. 
He is seldom aware of the efforts which the Indian 
Government has made or is making to help agricultural 
development by a system of co-operative banks and 
credit societies, to stimulate and broaden education, 
to encourage industrial development. If he hears of 
such endeavours at all, he is frequently informed that 
they have been undertaken for some selfish purpose. 
Let us hope that with action on the report of the recent 
Industrial Commission a clearer understanding will come 
and a better era will begin. It has been justly said by 
His Excellency Lord Chelmsford that " no reforms will 
achieve their purpose unless they have their counter- 
part in the industrial sphere. A great industrial 
advance, reacting strongly on social and educational 
conditions, is a condition precedent to the development 
of healthy political life in this country." 

But " man does not live by bread alone/' and the 
rise and spread of Indian national sentiment is one of 
the most remarkable phenomena of our time. Nourished 
originally by the Congress movement, sometimes ex- 
pressing itself in bursts of racial feeling, it took definite 
shape in 1905. But we can see its earlier influence in 
such passages as the following from the diary of 
Mr. Romesh Chandra Dutt, once a member of the 
Civil Service and afterwards a Congress leader. 
Describing a night spent at the North Cape with other 
tourists, during an expedition to Norway and Sweden 
in 1886, he wrote*: 

" I will not conceal the pain and humiliation which 
I felt in my inmost soul as I stood on that memorable 
night among representatives of the free and advancing 


nations of the earth rejoicing in their national great- 
ness. Champagne was drunk on the top of the hill, 
and Germans and Frenchmen, Englishmen and Ameri- 
cans, pressed us to share their hospitality. I accepted 
their offer with thanks on my lips, but I felt within me 
that I had no place among them." 

It is easy to conceive how the victories of Japan 
over what used to be one of the proudest European 
nations must have intensified such feelings. 

Since 1905 nationalism has gradually expanded, 
generally blending in some measure with racial feeling. 
The Morley-Minto Councils operated to weaken social 
barriers and stimulate co-operation, but have been 
powerless to arrest or even check nationalist ten- 
dencies ; and away from the Council-rooms, in the 
cities and towns, among the English- educated classes, 
these are now, partly through the influence of the Press, 
partly from the general unsettlement of the times, and 
partly as a result of increasingly frequent " constitu- 
tional agitations/' far stronger and more combative 
than they were in 1908. It is only natural that Indian 
agitators should seek to better the instruction which 
they often receive from British politics, but unfortun- 
ately agitations in India, however legally flawless, are 
generally sustained by methods which sharply exacer- 
bate racial feeling and have already led more than once 
to lamentable disorders. Almost always it may be 
said of such movements that even if they attain some 
immediate object, they leave a widened breach between 
peoples who have great need of each other, and that 
they produce a train of unforeseen and undesired con- 
sequences. This is perfectly well known in India ; and 
the effect of some bitter lessons of the past may be 
seen in the prompt repudiation by the Moderates of 
Mr. Gandhi's passive resistance movement. But, un- 


fortunately, of late years, for various reasons, the -idea 
has found growing favour that, if an agitation be 
sufficiently loud and menacing, it will achieve success. 
The disastrous results of the agitation over the Sedi- 
tion Bill, and the manner in which that movement was 
used for criminal purposes by the enemies of the State, 
may induce a greater reluctance to light fires which 
can by no means be extinguished at will. 

We have our own defects and national peculiarities. 
Much of the resentment of the Indian political classes 
is social, and lies deep in the colour-line which has been 
drawn with rigour in some British colonies and is still 
drawn in India, at times unavoidably. India was a 
land of caste and social cleavages, of a severity un- 
known in Western countries, long before the British 
ever saw it. It is still a land of such divisions, and 
would remain one if the British left it. It is true that 
educated Indians have had some reason to complain of 
social barriers, and avoidable incidents occur from time 
to time which breed bad feeling. 1 But the existing wall 
of reserve has been buttressed largely by the extreme 
sensitiveness and racial dislike often cherished by 
Nationalists themselves. Only recently a very able 
Indian politician frankly admitted this, stating that 
some Nationalists desired that no Indian of prominence 
should be associated with Europeans even in social 
matters, and " mixing up wish with reality, indulge in 
day-dreams from which perhaps the European might be 
absent." He reminded his audience that in the India 
of the future the European would be present as well 
as the Indian. If all politicians would regard prospects 
in this sensible light, and if they would fashion their 
ideas accordingly, they would find plenty of response 
from the British side. And we ourselves, at this crisis 

1 The Press can do much to improve relations. 


of the world's history, cannot wonder either at the 
sensibility of the political classes or at their natural 
appetite for posts and power. It is easy to see why, 
although they have been sheltered by a strong Im- 
perial system from a world-wide storm, they meditate 
little on the benefits of such protection and much on 
the least agreeable of its accompaniments. It! is com- 
prehensible that, in their own words, they want to be 
in their own country " what other people are in theirs," 
that they think that they would hold their heads higher 
in the world under a national government of their own. 
These are ideas which in themselves appeal to English- 
men whether resident in India or elsewhere. Both sides 
must approach the questions raised thereby from a 
practical point of view. Such approach would be far 
easier if more Indian Nationalists showed a disposition 
to allow for existing facts, for the hard-earned position 
of Britain in India, for the heavy and compelling 
responsibilities which that position entails. " Britain/' 
said the Maharaja of Ulwar, at the Delhi War Con- 
ference, " has wished India well, and has guided her 
destinies for 160 years." This is a true saying. The 
guidance has been through Britain's sons in India, who, 
aided by Indians, have established and maintained 
order, have dealt with obstacles, have taken risks, have 
worked indefatigably for progress. Necessity has 
trained them to consider what is really practicable in 
the interests of all communities. If their point of view 
were better understood, we would hear less of the 
doctrine that, unlike Britons at home, who are amiable 
philanthropists, Britons in India are specious oppressors. 
This doctrine is ever the result of Extremism, the 
origin of which was, as I have shown, clearly described 
by Mr. Gokhale. Its history, its vicissitudes, its 
achievements have been traced in these pages. At this 


moment it pursues constitutional methods, as these 
promise more fruitful results. Moreover, it has of late 
years attracted many adherents who have no taste for 
any but declamatory tactics. _ It includes, however, 
some men whose plans the future will disclose. For the 
present they wear the label " loyalty to the Crown, but 
impatience of bureaucratic government/' Loyalty to the 
Crown is indeed a potent and valuable factor in India, 
but, professed by such persons as these, is simply a mask. 
Their aim is to reduce British rule to impotence as 
soon as possible by any methods that seem to promise 
success. The Sedition Bill legislation and its sequel 
afforded a notable opportunity to sober politicians of 
isolating such people. The opportunity was lost. 

Mr. Jinnah, addressing the Muslim League in Decem- 
ber 1916, quoted a passage from the speech of the 
Prime Minister on the Irish situation, and remarked 
that every word thereof applied almost literally to 
conditions in India. Mr. Lloyd George had said that 
in attempting to settle the Irish difficulty he had felt 
all the time that he was moving "in an atmosphere of 
nervous suspicion and distrust, pervasive, universal, of 
everything and everybody. ... It was a quagmire of 
distrust which clogged the footsteps of progress. That 
was the real enemy of Ireland." 

Mr. Jinnah's audience understood him to mean that 
advanced Indians are the victims of undeserved sus- 
picion. It is true that the restrictions on military ser- 
vice, recruiting for which had till then been confined 
to the martial castes and classes, have encouraged this 
belief; and persons prominent in politics have, since 
the inception of a revolutionary movement, sometimes 
been watched by the police in a foolish and obtrusive 
fashion. This was sure to happen when the latter were 
faced with grave outbursts of political crime. But 


trust is, after all, a plant of spontaneous growth. The 
British Government wishes to trust every section of 
Indians, and, not least, the section which, unless peace- 
ful progress be definitely and violently arrested, must 
in time leaven many others. Should it be compelled 
to distrust particular leaders of this section, such dis- 
trust must be in the highest degree unwelcome, and 
can easily be removed by those concerned. 

In any case, however, there remains another sus- 
picion, and that is an Indian suspicion. It is the idea, 
often fostered by the Press, that the policy of the 
Government, even when definitely progressive, is, in 
fact, dictated by racial exclusiveness, by needless and 
selfish caution. Racialism among Indians derives much 
of its strength from this suspicion which has wrought 
considerable mischief. It has obstructed a much- 
needed reform of secondary education with the theory 
that the real design is to limit the numbers of the rest- 
less English-educated. It has hindered measures of 
supreme importance to the public welfare, and has 
thereby advertised the necessity of retaining safeguards 
against such hindrances. For the latter reason Pro- 
gressives might be expected to work for its removal, 
but hitherto there have been few signs of the approach 
of so bright a dawn. In September 1918 there was 
an indication of a change of view. There had been 
similar indications when the Morley-Minto Reforms 
were announced. Those had passed. This, too, 
passed. It yielded to the idea that there is a royal road 
to democratic government in India which is blocked 
by inconsiderate selfishness. 

And yet it has often been seen that when members of 
the political classes meet British officials with open 
minds, either because there is no antagonism of views 
or because politics are not in question at all, things go 


well enough. Indians, too, of these classes who enter 
Government service work contentedly, and have often 
shown a fine spirit of loyalty in difficult circumstances. 
So far, indeed, is it from being the case, that there is 
an immovable barrier between them and the British 
officers with whom or under whom they serve, that 
intercourse is generally pleasant and sometimes ripens 
into warm regard. May these circumstances be har- 
bingers of better things to come ! We might be sure 
that they would be were it not for the preaching of 
racial hate. 

We have discussed the economic condition of the 
political classes, and the influence on these classes of 
nationalism and racialism. We must now turn to the 
landlords, a far more numerous class which contributes 
very largely to the revenues of the country. The future 
depends, in no small measure, on the degree to which 
the landlords will adapt their ideas to the requirements 
of the new era. Their influence in a great agricultural 
country must always be powerful. In parts of India 
the influence of the proprietors of large estates has 
weakened for reasons indicated on a former page. 
But where, as in the United Provinces and the Punjab, 
there are quantities of yeomen farmers living on the 
land in close touch with, and often belonging to the 
same caste as, their tenants, the influence of landlords 
is still very strong indeed. A quotation from a speech 
by Sir Michael O'Dwyer shows clearly its value during 
the recent war. In the Imperial Legislative Council 
he said : 

' Take one cardinal feature of the Punjab. We 
have no great territorial aristocracy like other provinces, 
but we have what is perhaps even more valuable. We 
have over most of the province a large class of landed 
gentry or prosperous yeomen living on the land, in close 


touch with the rural masses of whom they are usually 
the recognised leaders, and an invaluable support to 
the administration. Over all the province we have 
that splendid body of stalwart peasant proprietors, 
Muhammandas, Hindus, Sikhs, whose energy and 
enterprise, guided by a government in which they have 
never lost confidence, have built up the prosperity of 
the Punjab, and whose" loyalty and sturdy valour 
have built up the fabric of the Indian Army. These 
are the two classes to which the Punjab Government 
has looked, and never looked in vain, in times of stress 
and difficulty ; those are the two classes to which we 
owe almost exclusively the magnificent contributions 
which the province is now making in men and materials. 
In recognising the services of the province during the 
war, it is only just and reasonable that those classes 
should receive first consideration." 

The Government of the United Provinces, too, has 
mainly to thank the landlords for the success of its war~ 

In Bengal only are the territorial proprietors materi- 
ally interwoven with the professional or literary classes, 
and there they manifest more interest in politics than 
they do in other provinces. But in landlords generally, 
conservative and cautious instincts are naturally domi- 
nant. Their attitude toward the recent disturbances 
was very apprehensive, as was shown in an eminent 
degree by a circular appeal by 300 landlords of Bengal 
issued in May 1919. * 

There are, of course, in all provinces among the 
territorial aristocracy, men who sit on the Legislative 
Councils and interest themselves in politics, but these are 
by no means as fluent in speech as the lawyer-members, 
and have so far played a part there which corresponds 
in a small degree with the real power of the order to 

1 Addressed to their tenants. 


which they belong. It can never be the interest of the 
landlords to desire weak government, even if it be 
national government, and they do not desire it. They 
are well aware of their stake in the country, and know 
that, in the words of a letter written last April by the 
Maharaja of Darbhanga to two large land-holding 
associations, their " very existence depends " on the 
protection of property and the maintenance of law 
and order which they " have been enjoying and con- 
tinue to enjoy under the British Government." For 
this reason the Maharaja went on to urge the associa- 
tions to exert themselves to the utmost "in quieting 
down the unrest which stalks through the land, and 
render the utmost possible assistance to the State in 
preventing disorder and removing root and branch the 
causes which have brought into existence this dreadful 
state of things." 

It is true that some of the more important landlords 
are attracted by the vision of a self-governing India 
in the future, and others find it convenient to swim 
with the Nationalists. But in practice landlords, as a 
class, have never wished that the British Government 
should cease to be able to protect and arbitrate. They 
desire this less than ever now. Politics are to their 
minds a game which can pass into somewhat bitter 
earnest. They are conscibus of being inadequately 
prepared for it. Their attention has hitherto been 
directed far more to their tenants, to litigation, and 
their private concerns than to anything else. The 
adjustment of their relations with the former has often 
been a matter of no ordinary complexity, for disputes 
regarding the landed tenures of India require careful 
study and impartial arbitration. Experience shows that 
for such arbitration they prefer British revenue officers. 
The landlords, although very numerous, are the 


minority of the rural population. The majority 
consists of peasant proprietors, under-proprietors, and 
tenants of various grades. 

The cultivators generally are so far untouched by 
the Nationalist propaganda. Some have been ap- 
proached by persons who tell them that they are ex- 
ploited and impoverished ; * their corn is, to their 
injury, exported from the country ; their money is 
drained away in salaries spent by foreigners in Europe ; 
their condition can be bettered only by Home Rule. 
So far, such appeals have effected little more than a 
promise of unrest in odd places and a delegation of 
tenants to the last Congress, the history of which would 
probably be instructive. As was stated by Lord 
Curzon in 1909, what the agricultural masses require 
of a government is, that it shall worry them for money 
as little as possible ; shall assist them generously in 
times of famine, floods, or other calamities ; shall settle 
their disputes without fear or favour ; shall protect 
them from the exactions of the worst kinds of landlords, 
money-lenders, or legal practitioners. At present they 
value British administration because its main effort is 
to supply these requirements. If untouched by in- 
sidious suggestions, they confide in its integrity, its 
freedom from susceptibility to intrigue or secret influ- 
ence. Of many individual British civil administrators 
they have kindly recollections. Never was the de- 
meanour of the country people of the Author's own 
provinces more conspicuously friendly toward British 
officers on tour than it was in the early months of the 
war, when some hearts were failing for fear of the future. 
Nor is it easy to think that the enthusiasm manifested 
by the masses on the occasion of the visit of their 

1 The recent report of the Foodstuffs Commissioner and Mr. Dalton's 
report of 1910 on the rise of prices in India testify strongly to the contrary. 


Majesties the King and Queen, sprang from those who 
were dissatisfied with their Government or unaware of 
the goodwill and honest purpose of His Majesty's servants. 
These people, who when let alone are contented, 
friendly, and industrious, but when captured by those 
who wilfully or recklessly pour jars of paraffin upon 
their ignorance and credulity, can break out into 
fanatical fury, are to be trained to co-operate in affairs 
in order that they may take their part in the democratic 
India of the future. Let us not forget that they have 
been correctly described in the Reforms Report as 
" illiterate peasants whose mental outlook has been 
coloured by the physical facts of India, the blazing sun, 
the enervating rains." We stand on the threshold of 
a new era, but cannot anticipate that such physical 
facts will alter or that they will cease to operate on the 
minds of these many millions. It remains to be seen 
how far they will avail themselves of the political 
education which they are to undergo. If this political 
education implies the continuous and self-sacrificing 
effort on the part of the educated classes which was 
preached by Mr. Gokhale in 1909 and by Lord Sinha 
in 1915 ; if Indian Nationalism is so genuine and health- 
ful a creed as to be able to inspire living patient service 
of a true and noble kind, all will be well and the co- 
operation of British officers is amply assured. But it 
may be said, both of the cultivators, and of the labourers 
and lower orders in and near towns who have been 
lately so seriously affected by Extremist agitation, 
that if incidents of this education are to be persuasion 
of tenants to withhold rent at discretion, of peasant- 
proprietors to withhold revenue, of mill-hands and 
labourers to beware of British employers, of all to culti- 
vate racial hatred and distrust j if the minds of the 
ignorant masses are to be warped, as the minds of the 


better-educated youth of the country have to a con- 
siderable extent already been warped in* what are called 
political interests ; then, indeed, the last state will be 
worse than the first, and incalculable mischief is in 
prospect. Such mischief can only be averted by deter- 
mined co-operation between the sober elements of 
Indian society and the officers of Government, streng- 
thened, should occasion demand, by convincing proof 
that Britain will not abandon to hostile disorder the 
Empire built up by British and Indian valour and effort. 

It appears that where the low castes or depressed 
classes are articulate, where they have organised asso- 
ciations, as in Madras and Bombay, they view coming 
constitutional changes with apprehension. From ad- 
dresses lately presented to the Viceroy and Secretary 
of State, it appears that they fear what they anticipate 
would mean a regime of class legislation and repression, 
and consider that British rule alone, in the present 
circumstances of India, can hold the scales even between 
creeds and castes. Yet in the Joint Congress and 
Muslim League address to the Viceroy and Secretary 
of State presented at Delhi on November 26th, 1917, 
it was claimed that these associations had made many 
representations in favour of the amelioration of the 
condition of the masses and had " pressed for the re- 
moval of all disabilities and distinctions based on racial 
and religious grounds/' As far as representations and 
resolutions go, this claim is well founded, and behind 
these representations and resolutions lies a genuine 
sentiment. There is testimony to this in the eagerness 
with which opportunities for social service are some- 
times seized by youths of the political classes, and in 
the existence of associations for the purpose of philan- 
thropic work among the lower orders. The forerunners 
in such paths were the Christian missionaries. But a 


great deal more than resolutions or sentiment, or the 
societies that, amid the gravest obstacles, cultivate the 
advancement of social reform, will be required before 
material impression can be made on the usages of 
centuries. Not only are about 50,000,000 of Hindus 
treated as untouchable by the higher castes of their 
own faith, but in parts of Southern India they are even 
regarded as unapproachable. They are not allowed 
to enter the temples or use the village wells. Before 
British rule they were serfs. Now, though legally free, 
they are outcastes in a sense hardly appreciable in a 
Western country. Thus it is that in addresses to the 
Viceroy and Secretary of State they have expressed 
the strongest distrust of the Home Rule Leaguers ; and 
thus it is that the President of the Indian National 
social conference held at Calcutta, less than two years 
ago, reminded his audience that while " gorgeous visions 
of a United India " were filling the political imagina- 
tion, " loud protests of indignation were being raised 
by classes and communities amongst us which we can 
no longer ignore/' 

The authors of the Reforms Report desire that both 
the agricultural masses and the depressed classes may 
ultimately learn the lesson of self-protection. Special 
assistance is to be given to them if under the new regime 
they fail to " share in the general progress/' Such 
assistance will be certainly needed, although the Honour- 
able Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjee has informed the 
Parliamentary Joint Committee that the influence of caste 
was on the wane, and that the Brahmans themselves, 
as well as the educated classes, desired its disappear- 
ance. Since the large majority of Hindus of the higher 
castes, and particularly of Brahmans, consider the caste 
system to be, as it undoubtedly is, the very foundation 
of the Hindu | religious and social edifice, Mr. Banerjee 


must indeed have been transported by the atmosphere 
of democratic England before he embarked on so 
venturous an assertion. 1 Even Hindus who have 
received education in English, much as they may chafe 
under the rules and restrictions which caste imposes, 
widely as they may sometimes relax those rules and 
restrictions, would, if the caste- system really were on 
the verge of dissolution, inquire very anxiously indeed 
what could possibly take its place and what would 
become of Hinduism after its disappearance. 

To the elements out of which, diversified as they are 
by varieties of caste, language, and religion, the self- 
governing India of the future is to be evolved, must 
be added numbers of gallant Indians who have been 
fighting in the Empire's cause. They belong to the 
agricultural and landholding classes, to the forces of 
conservatism. But since the commencement of the 
war they have been far more in contact with Western 
countries and Western ideas than ever before. It is 
not known how far they are attracted by the idea of 
government composed of indigenous parliaments. They 
have no previous experience or tradition of anything 
of the kind. But one lesson of recent years they have 
probably grasped. As was said by an Indian member 
of the Imperial Legislative Council : 

" From the time when the memory of man runneth 
not to the contrary, India has attracted the cupidity of 
powerful rulers and states ; from time immemorial her 
eternal mountains have witnessed the march of invad- 
ing hordes, and her mighty rivers have flowed past the 
battle-fields of contending armies. The peace and 
prosperity of the country have been interrupted by 
long periods of rapine and plunder ; and the soil of 
India has seen the rise of great and powerful empires/' 

1 Further examined, Mr, Banerjee said that he referred to the educated 
Brahmans of Bengal, 


There is little in the state of Asia or the world which 
gives assurance that things are now calm and peaceful ; 
that the nations are satisfied with what they have got, 
or that the future of India will henceforth be a matter 
of interest merely to India and Great Britain. Never 
was it more certain that, in the words of the Presi- 
dent of the 1915 Congress, " free from England, and 
without a real power of resistance, India would be 
immediately in the thick of another struggle of 
nations." * 

We have considered the position of the Ruling Chiefs, 
and noted their devotion to the Throne and the generpus 
loyalty of their response to the Empire's needs. We are 
given to understand by a few of the more prominent 
Hindu princes that they are in sympathy with the 
prospect of an increasingly democratic Indi a. The future 
will show how far such an India will affect politics in 
their states. 

We must remember the non-official representatives 
of Britain in India, and particularly those to whom 
India's commercial progress is mainly due. It is 
obvious that no constitutional settlement should be 
made which fails to give due weight and security to 
their interests. 

We have, too, the indigenous Anglo-Indians, the 
Eurasians, the Indian Christians and other communities 
who stand somewhat apart from the general masses of 
the population. Hindu-Muhammadan relations at 
their best and at their worst have been illustrated by 
events of various kinds described in previous pages. 
Ordinarily they are placid. 

We have seen that the demand for a parliamentary 

1 The traditional relations between Indian soldiers and their British 
officers are more easily understood from Yojinghusband's Story of the 
Guide! than from any other book I know, 


system came from a small section of India's many 
peoples, a section which pursues nationalist ideals and 
considers that British rule obstructs the realisation of 
these ideals. Partly for this reason the Nationalists 
are frequently moved by a racialism which has, in its 
extreme phase, produced a string of revolutionary con- 
spiracies. Nationalist ambitions have been sharpened 
by economic pressure and by the present world-ten- 
dency to regard parliamentary government as the 
hall-mark of a civilised state. From the latter point 
of view, and because there is in true nationalism a source 
of uplifting inspiration, these ambitions must neces- 
sarily appeal to many thinking Indians outside active 
politics, but of these some are uneasy and by no means 
appreciate the uncertainty of the future. We cannot 
doubt, however, that unless they lead to recognised 
calamity, nationalist ideals will in years to come appeal 
to a constantly widening circle. Even now they domi- 
nate the Press, and have largely penetrated schools and 
colleges. The British Cabinet has responded to these 
aspirations in a definite and unmistakable manner. 

Minimising difficulties which recently seemed in- 
superable to two Liberal Secretaries of State, they issued 
the declaration of August 20th, 1917, and proclaimed 
a policy of not only increasing association of Indians 
with every branch of the administration, but also 
progressive realisation of responsible government in 
India as an integral part of the British Empire. Pro- 
gress is to be by stages ; and the Viceroy and Secretary 
of State, in framing their proposals for carrying out 
the declared policy, have aimed at including in the 
very first stage by mean^ of dyarchy, a measure of 
separate clear-cut ministerial responsibility. We have 
seen that the majority of local governments considered 
that dyarchy is unlikely to work without severe friction, 


and have framed alternative proposals. The choice 
between the two sets of proposals will shortly be made 
by Parliament. 1 

In order to fulfil the purpose of the Declaration, the 
authors of the Reforms Report propose to disturb the 
present usually placid contentment of the masses 
because such disturbance will be "for India's highest 
good." It is certainly a consequence of the terms of 
the Declaration, but implies facilities for politicians 
which, unless employed with loyal discretion, will do 
India much harm and make administration extremely 
difficult. Often they will be honourably and discreetly 
used ; but when they are not, the brunt of any conse- 
quent troubles will fall on the Executive servants 
of the Crown, and more especially on the Civil 
Sendee and Police. 

It is these services who supply the commissioners, 
district officers, and superintendents who, themselves 
a mere handful, are responsible for the maintenance 
of peace and order among millions. 

Generally a district officer has no troops whatever 
to support him, but merely a force of civil police under 
a British superintendent. His charge consists of a 
population of all castes and creeds, numbering from 
about 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 or 3,000,000. He has not 
only to keep the peace, but to collect the revenue, to 
combat epidemics, to foster education, and to do all he 
can for his people in every possible way. His friend 
and adviser is the commissioner, a senior officer who 
is responsible to Government for the charges of several 
district officers. The district officer is assisted by 
Indian deputy magistrates and sometimes by a Euro- 
pean Joint Magistrate. He exercises a general super- 
vision over the work of the police, which is carried on 

1 This was written before recent Parliamentary legislation. 


under the control of the superintendent. He presides 
over a very large Indian subordinate staff. Some 
district officers are Indians, and many more will be 
Indians in future. 

It may be said of district and police officers that as 
things are, their responsibilities are heavy and their 
days are fully occupied. They often pass through 
anxious experiences, and, in order to carry out their 
duties, need to be regarded as representatives not of 
a moribund, but of an active and vigorous power. Yet 
it is certain that in the future they will have at times 
to contend with the impression that power is departing 
from the British Raj, for that is how impending changes 
and a gradually shrinking British official element must 
appear and will often be represented to the Indian 
masses. Only if responsibility changes the political 
spirit will executive officers receive much help from 
it in difficulties. Nationalists have hitherto regarded 
them as generally hostile to reform. The truth is that 
they have to deal with not only the political, but all 
classes and creeds, and wish to be able effectively to 
discharge their responsibilities. If they are inclined to 
linger in the old tents, it is because before leaving those 
tents they would like reasonable assurance that the 
new encampment will not develop into a troubled scene 
where the same results will be expected from their work, 
but the atmosphere around it will gradually deteriorate. 

The Police have again and again been assailed by 
politicians because of the action which they have been 
compelled to take in dealing with and thwarting revo- 
lutionary crime. The English-educated classes have 
always been reluctant to acknowledge that the game 
of revolutionary politics must necessarily be perilous 
and rough for the players and their associates, that 
practised in India among vast masses of people who 


inhabit great tracts of country sparsely policed, it 
necessitates stringent and effective remedies which, may 
inconvenience other than guilty persons. Nor have the 
Nationalists hitherto been 'able to see that as they so 
much dislike such repressive measures, it is desirable 
that they should themselves take determined steps to 
put an end to the revolutionary propaganda which has 
produced occasion for them. It is certainly no gratifi- 
cation to the Police or to any officers of Government to 
devote energies for which there is ample employment 
in other directions to the disagreeable and thankless 
task of fighting anarchical conspiracy. 

British civil officers generally have good reason to 
be well aware of the enormous value of educated non- 
official co-operation, and their hearts warm to those 
from whom they receive it. They are proud that their 
mission is a mission of liberty and progress : and their 
sympathies would naturally incline towards Indians 
who, reading English history and literature, are attracted 
by the ideas of nationality and freedom which they 
draw from those inspiring pages. But there are other 
sources of inspiration; and when such ideas operate 
through a medium of sensitive and suspicious racialism, 
they produce something widely different from that 
co-operation which is essential for progress, and when 
forthcoming, slights all difference of colour, inspiring 
a mutual goodwill which makes all things possible. 

The Extremists wish to push forward recklessly, 
regardless of obstacles or consequence, of sectarian and 
social divisions, of the dangers of racial conflict, of the 
ignorance of the great majority of the population, of 
the responsibility of Britain for the good government 
of India. They mean to press their views by the pro- 
motion of incessant agitation. The Moderates see the 
danger of precipitate changes, and know that progress 


worth having can only come through co-operation with 
Government and its officers. Their position is difficult, 
but they can establish it by trusting the strength 
which will be theirs with courageous resolution. 
Neither party allows sufficiently for the natural obstacles 
in the path of democratic progress in India or for 
British responsibilities to every class and race. Neither 
party seems to grasp adequately the difficulties of the 
coming years of transition, difficulties inevitable in any 
case, and augmented by the troubled state of the world. 
These difficulties are, however, understood by many 
thinking Indians and by the Services. In their opinion, 
whatever be the scheme of reforms, Government must 
preserve full weight and power for years yet. Without 
Britain, India would directly be torn by invasion ; and, 
in the absence of a trained electorate that can protect 
itself and be said to represent sufficiently the educated 
intelligence of all classes of His Majesty's subjects, 
Britain cannot abdicate her responsibilities for India's 
domestic affairs. 

It is not surprising in such times as these that the 
doctrines of Western democracy have carried the 
ambitions of Indian Nationalists on to adventurous 
lengths. As- some declare for a future of perpetual 
agitation, we may note that premature Home Rule 
would mean an unhappy attempt at government 
by particular castes and classes. Genuine Indian 
progressives would, without that British support 
which has done so much to assist them all these 
years, be liable to succumb to the reactionary sectar- 
ian and social influences which they are even now 
reluctant to combat seriously. Clouds of confusion 
would gather rapidly ; British interests and credit 
would suffer irretrievable damage ; and the vision of 
a brilliant happy India, raised by the endeavours of 


all classes of her sons to a worthy place within the 
circle of the British Empire, would prove a delusive 

Thus it is that to many who have eaten the salt of 
India, who wish India well and desire to see her 
prosper and progress, it seemsi that a vital issue of the 
present is, Will the constitutional changes in prospect 
be such as adequately to maintain British supremacy, 
so long as that alone can carry on the work of the 
past and guarantee the well-being of the people whom 
we have known as the friendly companions of the best 
years of our lives ? 

Since this book went to the Press the revised Govern- 
ment of India Bill has become law. The King-Emperor 
has appealed to his people and to his servants in India 
for perseverance and mutual forbearance in treading 
the difficult path now definitely marked out. At 
present some circumstances are working for much 
bitterness. But we may trust that this bitterness 
will pass ; that the danger which threatens India from 
Central Asia will, as always hitherto, promote domestic 
concord ; that His Majesty's appeal will stimulate 
active perception of the public good. Never has the 
message been clearer that the interests of Britain and 
India are essentially the same. 




TWICE in the centuries before the Muhammadan conquests 
the political unity of all India was nearly accomplished ; 
first in the third century B.C. by Asoka, and again in the 
fourth century A.D. by Samodragupta. Both these em- 
perors had their capitals in Northern India, in the Gangetic 

" Harsha was the last native monarch prior to the 
Muhammadan conquest who held the position of paramount 
power in the north. His death loosened the bonds which 
restrained the disruptive forces always ready to operate 
in India, and allowed them to produce their normal results 
a medley of petty States, with ever- varying boundaries, 
and engaged in internecine war. Such was India when 
first disclosed to European observation in the fourth cen- 
tury B.C., and such it has always been, except during the 
comparatively brief periods in which a rigorous central 
government has compelled the mutually repellent mole- 
cules of the body politic to check their gyrations and submit 
to the grasp of a superior controlling force." Vincent 
Smith's " Early History of India" 

1 See page 28. 

18 269 



THE methods of the sanyasis in the famous novel of Bankim 
Chandra, The Ananda Math (Monastery of Joy), vaguely 
foreshadow the political robberies of the Revolutionaries 
of present times. 

The sanyasi rebels against the rule of the Muhammadan 
Nawab Nazim of Bengal, which was supported by the East 
India Company, are described by Bankim Chandra as 
seizing public money by violence when they can and using 
it to finance their warfare. They are victorious against 
Mussulman sepoys, even though led by Englishmen. They 
bring Muslim rule to a close. Among the concluding pas- 
sages of the book are the following : 

" Satyananda," said the physician, " grieve not ! In 
your delusion you have won your victories with the pro- 
ceeds of robbery. A vice never leads to good consequences, 
and you may never expect to save your country by sinful 
procedure. Really what may happen now will be for the 
best. There is no hope of a revival of the true Faith if 
the English be not our rulers. The true Faith does not 
consist in the worship of 330,000,000 deities ; that is only 
a base worship of the masses. Under its influence the 
true Faith, which mlecchas (barbarians) call Hinduism, has 
disappeared. The true Hinduism is based on knowledge 
and not on action " (To revive true religion, objective 
knowledge must be disseminated. It must first be im- 
ported.) " The English are great in objective sciences, and 
they are apt teachers. Therefore the English shall be 
made our sovereign. Imbued with a knowledge of objec- 
tive sciences by English education, our people will be able 

1 See page 62. 


to comprehend subjective truths. Then there would be 
no obstacle to the spread of the true Faith ; it will shine 
forth of itself. Till that is so, till the Hindus are great 
again in knowledge, virtue, and power, till then the English 
rule will remain unaltered. The people will be happy 
under them, and follow their own religion without hindrance. 
. . . Where is the enemy now ? There is none. The 
English are a friendly power ; and no one, in truth, has 
the power to come off victorious in a fight with the English." 


MUHAMMAD AN s in India are rather sharply divided into 
Shias and Sunnis. According to Shias, the Prophet, who 
belonged to the Koreish tribe of Arabs, on his death-bed 
recognised his son-in-law Ali as his spiritual and temporal 
successor (Khalif). He was, however, in fact succeeded by 
Abu Bakr, another of his companions, whom he had deputed 
to take his place at the daily prayers. Abu Bakr was 
succeeded by Omar, and Omar by Othman. Both Omar 
and Othman belonged to the band of Muhammad's com- 
panions. Then Ali came in, and was murdered after a 
short lease of power. He left two sons, Hassan and Husain, 
grandsons of the Prophet. Hassan abdicated, and was 
succeeded by Muawiya, the representative of another tribe 
of Arabs. He was followed by Yezid ; and Husain, re- 
belling against Yezid, was killed on the fatal field of Karbala. 

The sad end of a grandson of the Prophet shook Islam 
to its depths, and is now yearly commemorated in the 
Muharram. It also apparently originated the Shia doctrine 
that Ali should have succeeded his father-in-law, and that 
therefore Abu Bakr, Omar, and Othman were not true 
Khalifs. But this doctrine was opposed by the Sunnis, 
the Muslims who hold by the sunnas or precedents. These 
basing their creed on the general allegiance of the Faithful, 
recognise the Khalifats of Abu Bakr, Omar, and Othman 
as well as the Khalifat of Ali. 

The last of the dynasties of Arabian Khalifs came to an 
end in 1258 A.D. But about three centuries later the title 
was assumed by the Sultans of Turkey, as protectors of 
1 See page 73. 


the Holy Places and the most powerful Muhammadan 
sovereigns in the world, although without pretensions of 
consanguinity to Muhammad. These claims have not 
been admitted by the Shias, but have been largely acknow- 
ledged by the Sunnis. The Shias are strong in Persia, but 
comparatively weak in India. The kings of Oudh were 
Shias. The Moghul Emperors were Sunnis. Both Shias 
and Sunnis intensely revere the Holy Places of Arabia, 
Mecca, Medina, and Karbala, and regard it as essential 
that these should be in Muslim hands, 



GENTLEMEN, I think you will admit that it is unusual for 
a Viceroy to receive a deputation of this nature, but when 
you sought permission to ^ait on me, I put aside precedent 
because I thought it well to meet you face to face to hear 
your representations and to give you a clear and frank 
answer to those representations. I presume at the time 
of making your request you weighed the fact that the 
Empire is in the throes of a life- and- death struggle, and that 
such a time is hardly the moment at which to raise even 
such an important matter as this. But you must not take 
my ready consent to receive you to mean that I considered 
the moment you had chosen opportune. I put aside, 
however, this consideration, though it has meant that 
precious time has had to be devoted to a matter which 
might well have awaited a more convenient season. I shall 
not dwell further on this point. I merely mention it 
because I want to show that in a matter like this I am 
always ready to meet those who feel they have a grievance 
to advance. 

Let me make one more preliminary observation. You 
are here as representatives of the Press, to complain of 
certain legislation which embodies the attitude of the 
Government of India towards certain aspects of journalism. 
The function of the Press informing public opinion holds 
within its compass the possibilities of an ideal as high and 
noble as any that can be imagined. You have each and 

1 See page 136, 


all of you the right to be proud of the profession to which 
you belong, and I find it a little embarrassing to discuss 
with you, however dispassionately, matters which may be 
taken to reflect upon the methods in which journalism is, 
or may be, or has been, conducted in India. You have 
yourselves placed me in that position, and I only ask you, 
if you find yourselves in disagreement with what I say, to 
acquit me of any discourtesy, and to realise that I am 
dealing with the question in the abstract, and not in any 
sense whatever are my remarks to be taken as having any 
personal application. 


You have rightly abstained from addressing to me any 
elaborate argument in defence of the principle of a free 
Press. It is a principle that commands the instinctive ad- 
herence of every Englishman. I am an Englishman, and 
I can assure you that my education, my training, my 
inherited instincts, all bias me in this matter, and the bias 
is not against your case, but in favour of it. Anything in 
the nature of muzzling the Press strikes right across the 
grain of my whole being. 

If, therefore, I find that so broad-minded an Englishman 
as Lord Minto found it necessary to pass an Act such as 
that of which you complain, that so staunch an apostle 
of liberty as Lord Morley approved of it as Secretary of 
State, and that my predecessor saw no reason to relax 
the restrictions it imposes, I venture to think that there 
must be a better case than you are disposed to admit in 
favour of this much- abused Press Act. 


Turning to the second portion of your paragraph 5, your 
arguments would lead one to suppose that this Act had 
been worked by the Local Governments with great harsh- 
ness and indiscretion, and I have had a careful search made 
of the records of the Government of India, but I cannot 


find that a single case of that character has been brought 
to our notice, and, on the other hand, the Government of 
India were careful from the first to issue instructions enjoin- 
ing leniency and discrimination. In no single case has an 
appeal to a High Court against the Local Government's 
orders succeeded, and in the majority of cases the Court 
has definitely branded the articles complained of as object- 

Perhaps it will make the case a little clearer if we look at 
the statistics of the operation of this Act since 1910. Take 
newspapers first : 143 have been warned once, and thirty 
thrice or oftener. Only three have had their first security 
forfeited, and not one its second. As regards Presses : fifty- 
five have been warned once, nine twice, and five thrice or 
oftener. Thirteen have had their first security forfeited ; 
only one its second. I cannot agree with you that this 
evidences illiberal action on the part of the executive 
authority, and in this period, if your argument holds good, 
we should surely expect to find a steady diminution in the 
number of presses, newspapers, and periodicals. But what 
are the facts ? The presses have increased from 2,736 in 
1909-10 to 3,237 in 1915-16 ; newspapers from 726 to 857, 
and the periodicals from 829 to 2,927. And these figures 
do not support the theory that a journalist's career is as 
perilous as you suggest. 


In paragraph 13 you claim that the Press is now honest 
and law-abiding, and that all necessity for restriction has 
disappeared. Is that not rather arguing in a circle ? Be- 
cause a river has been embanked and thus prevented from 
flooding the surrounding country, do the engineers say : 
" This river is now safe, and we will not trouble to maintain 
the embankment " ? I do not think you can urge that 
because floods have been controlled the possibility of their 
recurrence has disappeared. The history of the Press in 


India is against your theory. In 1878 a growing section 
of the Indian Press was expressing covert or open hostility 
to Government. The passing of the Act of that year exer- 
cised a restraining influence, but when it was removed there 
was a recrudescence of malevolent hostility. From 1884 
to 1898 a section of the Press steadily grew more scurrilous, 
more malignant, more seditious, until the penal law had 
to be strengthened, in 1898, but even that was not sufficient. 
Misrepresentation and vilification of Government, and even 
overt sedition, went steadily on until the Newspapers 
(Excitement to Violence) Act was passed in 1908, and it 
was only when that proved inadequate that the Press Act 
of 1910, now under discussion, really checked the flood 
that was spreading over the land. Do not think I am 
framing an indictment against the Press of India as a whole 
or against journalism as it is now conducted. I am only 
recounting the facts that led up to the debates in the 
Legislative Council on the Act of 1910. Those debates 
did not touch the case of the many well-conducted and 
responsible papers then any more than I am doing now ; 
but that the danger then was great and serious I do not 
think that you dispute, and if you say the danger has 
passed away I cannot agree with you ; for so long as there 
are papers in India, as there still are, that in pursuit of 
their own ends think it right to magnify the ills from which 
she suffers ; to harp upon plague, famine, malaria, and 
poverty, and ascribe them all to the curse of an alien Govern- 
ment ; so long as there are papers that play on the weak- 
nesses of impressionable boys and encourage that lack of 
discipline and of respect for all authority that has done 
so much to swell the ranks of secret revolution ; so long 
as it is considered legitimate to stir up hatred and con- 
tempt hi order to foster discontent, I feel that any relaxa- 
tion of the existing law would be followed, as surely as night 
follows day, by a gradual increase of virulence, until we 
should come back to the conditions that prevailed before 
the passing of the Act. 



There will be some that will hold up their hands in horror 
at the suggestion that such things as I have indicated are 
still to be found in the Press, but here is an extract that I 
should like to read to you : " The meaning of Imperialism 
is that a powerful nation thinks that it is justified in depriv- 
ing a weaker people of their liberty, and retaining that 
people under their rule in perpetual slavery on the plea of 
civilising them and bettering their lot." Here is another : 
" If the Indian rulers had given effect to the terms of the 
Royal Proclamation of 1858, India would not have been 
converted into a land of permanent famine and pestilence 
and its children into a race of effeminate weaklings." 
What is this but to exaggerate the ills of India and to 
ascribe them all to Government ? Listen to this ; it is 
part of a long article : " The same feeling of pity possesses 
the populace when they stand face to face with political 
crimes committed by youthful and misguided idealists. 
They know that these young men come fully prepared for 
sacrificing their own lives in the discharge of the work 
entrusted to them. The gallows have absolutely no terrors 
for them. To send them to the gallows would not hinder, 
but, on the contrary, very materially help their criminal 
propaganda. This has been the universal experience of 
history in these matters. Those who are already in sym- 
pathy with this criminal propaganda will not be cowed 
down by their chastisement, but will rather look upon their 
punishment as martyrdom, and draw fresh inspiration from 
it for carrying on their work. Everybody except the official 
machinist and the purblind publicist understands all this." 

Now, hear, not what I think about it, but what a High 
Court Judge has to say about this article : " This seems 
to me most pernicious writing, and writing which must tend 
to encourage political assassination by removing public 
detestation of such crimes. New India is presumably read 
by numbers of excitable young men animated (and not 
unnaturally) by the same ideal which the writer ascribes 


to the assassins, but which it is impossible for any right- 
minded person to connect with their crimes. Such young 
men are practically told that the assassins are pursuing 
the same ideal as themselves with singular courage and 
disregard of self, and that such criminals should not be 
punished, but convinced of the folly of their ways. The 
article presents the assassins to such young men, and to 
the public generally, in a far more favourable light than 
any ordinary person would have viewed them in, and, 
although it may not amount to incitement, it certainly 
seems to me to give encouragement to the commission of 
crimes which undoubtedly fall within section 4(1)." 

I do not wish to detain you, but I must still give you a 
few more extracts. A poet writes : 

" How long will the blood of the innocent people be shed, 
and how long will we writhe in agony ? " 

He prays God to release Indians from this miserable 
condition. He complains that they have lost their wealth, 
honour, and all good qualities. He inquires what can be 
worse than their present condition. Another poet says : 

" When will the oppressions of the wicked cease in India ; 
when will the enemies of Indians be crushed, and how 
long will this cruel oppression of the weak continue ? " 

Yet another : 

" Slavery has deprived Indians of wealth, honour, and 
freedom, and has reduced them to destitution and starva- 
tion. What further harm is it going to cause to India ? 
Will it drain their very blood ? It has paralysed their 
limbs and muzzled their mouths. Why is it so mercilessly 
pursuing them ? God gave equal liberty to all. Why 
then should accursed slavery be oppressing Indians ? " 

And here is one more : 

" The arrest is legal, doubtless, but it is truly unlawful. 
The breaking of the sacred law of justice which holds society 


together when injustice is perpetrated, when crimes are 
committed legally, when innocence is no protection and 
harmless men are treated as criminals, then we live in a 
condition of anarchy no matter what legal sanction may 
cover the wrong-doer. Civilisation does not protect us. 
We should be better off in a state of savagery ; for then 
we should be on our guard. We should carry arms and 
protect ourselves. We are helpless. We pay taxes to be 


What are these but stirring up hatred and contempt ? 
Do you come before me to-day as journalists to say that 
you do not regret that such sentiments should have ap- 
peared in the public Press ? Do you suggest that language 
like this can have no ill-effect, and that you are prepared 
to see such things said every day through the length and 
breadth of India ? Are these, I would ask you, the writ- 
ings of persons whose loyalty and good intentions and 
honesty of purpose are unquestioned, but who have un- 
wittingly fallen into a trap which the Act has laid for them ? 
Can I judge the tree except by its fruit ? These are not 
extracts from the old files of 1910 ; they are cuttings 
from newspapers of 1916. If the terrors of the Act to which 
you have so freely adverted are not sufficient to prevent 
the publication of such stuff as this, will you tell me what 
would happen if the Act were repealed ? Can you blame 
me if, with such publications before me and I am afraid 
I could find you more in the same strain I refuse to assent 
to your assurance that the Press of India has purged itself, 
and that the time has come to accord to it once again the 
freedom which should be its pride no less than its privilege ? 



THAT brings me to the question of the Home Rule proga- 

Honourable Members will remember that some two 
months ago my Government passed orders forbidding two 
gentlemen who were prominently identified with that 
propaganda from entering the province. I took that 
action not because I desire to stifle or repress any reason- 
able political discussion, but because I was, and am, con- 
vinced that an agitation for Home Rule in this province on 
the lines advocated by the leaders of the movement, and 
as it would be interpreted by those to whom it would be 
addressed, would stir up the dying embers of the revo- 
lutionary fires which we have almost succeeded in 
extinguishing, and set parts of the province in a blaze 
once more. I desire to make the attitude of Government 
in this matter quite clear. Government while opposed to 
any sudden or catastrophic constitutional change, recog- 
nises that among a large section of the community there 
is a growing desire, and a natural desire, for an increased 
measure of self- government. 

His Excellency the Viceroy, in the Imperial Council on 
February 7th, formally stated that the " expediency of 
broadening the basis of government, and the demand of 
Indians to play a greater part in the conduct of affairs in 
this country, are not matters which have escaped our atten- 
1 See pages 137, 211. 


tion." He added that proposals had been submitted to 
the Home Government, and asked the Council to remember 
that the consideration of certain constitutional questions 
affecting a portion of the Empire might have to yield place 
for a time to the more urgent task of so prosecuting the 
war as to ensure the preservation of the Empire. 

But, gentlemen, the increasing measure of self-government 
by steady and orderly change for which this country will 
fit itself as education spreads, as causes of disunion dimin- 
ish, and as large numbers of the vast population gain 
political experience, is something very far from the sudden 
upheaval, and the startling transfer of political authority 
into ignorant and inexperienced hands, which the prota- 
gonists of Home Rule contemplated in their extravagant 
demands. Such changes would be as revolutionary in their 
character, and, I believe, as subversive of the existing 
constitution, as those which the " Ghadr " emissaries 
endeavoured to bring about. Indeed, it is not without 
significance to find that the watchword of the thousands 
who participated in the dacoities of the South-west Punjab 
two years ago, and of many of the men who fomented the 
" Ghadr " Conspiracy on the Pacific coast, was swaraj, or 
Home Rule, and that the hundreds of emigrants who re- 
turned to the Punjab to spread rebellion in the province 
by fire and sword, claimed that their object was to establish 
Home Rule. It may be urged that this was the crude 
interpretation of a legitimate and constitutional ideal by 
ignorant men. That may be so ; but what we have to 
consider is not the ideal in the mind of the political philo- 
sopher in his arm-chair or the journalist at his desk, but 
the ideal conveyed to the average man, and we have had 
positive proof, based on judicial findings, of several experi- 
enced tribunals, that of the thousands of Punjabis to 
whom the swaraj, or Home Rule, doctrine was preached in 
America, some hundreds at least set themselves as early as 
possible to realise that ideal by the sword, the pistol, and 
the bomb. 1 Take even a more convincing case. 
1 See pages 98, 187. 


The so-called " Dr." Mathra Singh, who recently suffered 
the extreme penalty of the law, was one of the most active 
and dangerous of the revolutionary leaders. He was the 
expert bomb- maker ; he was also a man widely travelled 
and of superior education, very different from the ignorant 
dupes whom he enmeshed in the conspiracy. Yet this 
man, though his hands were steeped in crime, asserted to 
the last that he was merely acting as an advocate of Home 
Rule. We have to judge men not by their words, but by 
their acts ; we have to judge movements not by the ideals 
that perhaps inspire their leaders, but by the results they 
have produced, or are likely to produce, on the community. 
Applying those tests, can any reasonable man say that 
the Home Rule propaganda is one which could be preached 
in the Punjab to-day without serious danger to the public 
peace and to the stability of the Government ? 
One more remark before I leave this subject. 
The case of Home Rule for Ireland is often cited as an 
argument in their favour by those who advocate Home 
Rule for India. At the risk of entering into the thorny 
field of Irish politics, I may say there is no analogy between 
the two cases. 

The Home Rule movement in Ireland aimed at the 
restoration of the status a separate legislature and a 
separate executive, though with limited powers which Ire- 
land had enjoyed for centuries down to the Union of 1800. 
The great majority of the Irish people supported the move- 
ment, and many of those who wished well to Ireland, even if 
they did not count on any material advantages from Home 
Rule, were inclined to favour the scheme on sentimental 
and historical grounds, and looked forward to the time 
when the softening of racial and religious asperities would 
enable all classes to combine for the restoration and the 
successful working of the system of self-government, which 
in one form or another Ireland had for centuries enjoyed. 
That was a lofty and a generous ideal. Unfortunately, the 
nearer it came to realisation, the greater became the prac- 
tical difficulties ; the old feuds and factions were revived 


with increasing bitterness and threatened civil war. A year 
ago one section of the supporters of Irish swaraj (the Sinn 
Fein, or Swadeshists), following in the footsteps of our Pun- 
jabi Swarajists, allied themselves with the king's enemies 
and brought about an abortive rebellion. That was speedily 
suppressed, but it has left a fatal legacy of distrust and 
ill-feeling which all good Irishmen, whatever their creed 
or politics, deplore ; for it has prevented Ireland from 
bearing the full share hi the defence of the Empire. Well, 
gentlemen, the conclusion I would ask you to draw is 
this. If the Home Rule movement, after a hundred years 
of agitation, has so far produced no better results among 
a people fairly enlightened and homogeneous, in a country 
no larger or more populous than a single division in the 
Punjab, what result can we expect from it in this vast 
continent, with its infinite variety of races, creeds, and 
traditions, and its appalling inequalities in social and 
political development ? What results would we expect 
from it even hi our own province ? In the matter of Home 
Rule, I fear the case of Ireland, in so far as it is analogous 
at all, conveys to us a lesson and a warning. 


DADABHAI NAOROJI was a Parsi, born in Bombay in 1825. 
He came of a family of priests. He was a promising scholar 
of the Elphinstone College in that city. On reaching man- 
hood, he at first devoted himself to educational work, and 
it is said that it was to his initiative that Bombay owed 
her first school for girls. In 1855 he proceeded to England 
as representative of Messrs. Cama and Co., and began to 
occupy himself largely in journalism and in bringing before 
the public advanced Indian views regarding political and 
economic questions. Subsequently he returned to India, 
and was appointed Diwan of the Baroda State. Resigning 
this post later, he served as a member of the Bombay 
Corporation, from 1881 to 1885, and rendered excellent 
service to that body. He was appointed an additional 
member of the Imperial Legislative Council, and was one 
of the promoters of, and partakers in, the First Indian 
National Congress. 

In 1886 he left for England, determined to enter Parlia- 
ment, and stood for Holborn. He was unsuccessful, and, 
returning to India, became President of the second Con- 
gress. 1 In 1887 he returned to England, and after some 
years was elected Member of Parliament for Central Fins- 
bury. His election was hailed with much enthusiasm in 

He retained his seat for three years, and, hi 1893, induced 
Mr. Herbert Paul to move a resolution proposing that ex- 
aminations for the Indian Civil Service should be held 



simultaneously in India and England. He also, with the 
assistance of Sir William Wedderburn and the late Mr. 
W. S. Caine, organised an Indian Parliamentary Committee. 
In 1895 he was appointed to the Royal Commission on 
Indian Expenditure, and did laborious service on that 
body. In 1893 he presided over the ninth Congress ses- 
sions, and received great ovations. In 1895 he lost his seat 
in Parliament, and afterwards devoted himself mainly to 
Congress propaganda. He was elected President of the 
memorable Congress of 1906, 1 but was unable to be present. 
His address was read out in that assemblage. He died at 
the ripe age of ninety-two, much respected. 

1 See page 66. 



I NEED not say more about man-power or war loan, but I 
have a few more words to say to you. I propose in the 
course of my present tour to deal in a spirit of hopefulness 
and, I trust, of helpfulness with some of the problems 
which have arisen out of this war. This afternoon I shall 
speak to you about the scheme of reforms which has just 
been published. It is early yet to appreciate fully the 
reception of that scheme. Some are favourable to it, 
a few seem hostile, many are reserving their opinion. You 
will not expect me to offer any opinion on the scheme itself. 
What I want to do is this. I want to impress upon you the 
enormous difficulties which beset this question of reforms. 
It is enormously difficult to graft the ideas of Western 
democracy on to an ancient social system of which a pro- 
minent feature is the institution of caste. * It is enormously 
difficult to harmonise the aspirations of a modern indus- 
trial Empire with the aspirations of an essentially spiritual 
and conservative land like India. It is enormously diffi- 
cult again to devise a scheme which will suit the diverse 
masses of languages, opinions, creeds, and religious differ- 
ences which go to make up India. But no difficulties have 
deterred or stayed His Majesty's Government and the 
Government of India. They have declared in the most 
unequivocal terms that there must be a real step forward 
in the direction of responsible government. The Secretary 
of State and the Viceroy have sought and heard opinions 
throughout the length and breadth of the land from repre- 

1 See page 226. 2 See page 166 



sentatives of every class. They are in possession of an 
amount of information which no one else in India has. 
Whatever may be thought of their definite proposals, it 
must be admitted that never before has any inquiry been 
conducted with such anxious care to ascertain the wishes 
of the diversified and heterogeneous peoples of India. It 
is the duty of every man in this province who takes interest 
in public affairs to give this scheme the fairest possible 
consideration, and I believe that they will do so. They 
may want some details altered, they may want this or that 
proposal modified, but they will, I believe, lay their heads 
together in a spirit of constructive statesmanship, and see 
through co-operation and compromise some adequate solu- 
tion of the problem. I regard it as absolutely essential 
that we should work together, because if this scheme fails 
or is rejected, we shall have to face a situation which will 
be difficult and delicate and might deteriorate. But I 
need not dwell upon this contingency, especially in this 
province. If you believe, as I think you must believe, 
that the Secretary of State and the Viceroy have made an 
earnest and honest and, may I add ? a very able endeavour 
to deal with this difficult problem, then I beg you to go 
out and meet them hah* way, to put aside any preconceived 
ideas, to throw off catchwords and phrases, to stick closely 
to things and not to words, and to concentrate your thoughts 
on the future well-being of India. We have seen how 
precarious and perilous has been the course of reforms in 
China, in Persia, in Turkey, and now in Russia. May I 
quote to you the saying of an able Chinese statesman ? 
" To speak in a parable ; a new form of government is like 
an infant, whose food must be regulated with circumspec- 
tion if one desires it to thrive. If hi our zeal for the infant's 
growth we give it several days' nourishment at once, there 
is small hope of its ever attaining manhood." 


It seems to me that there are three cardinal conditions of 
healthy reform. The first is, that any reform must be a 


real reform, and must not be put out of shape and substance 
by too many safeguards, checks, and counter-checks. This 
is a canon of moral strategy. Reform must not be afraid 
of itself. The second condition is that any scheme of re- 
forms in India must bear some relation to the reforms of 
the last fifty years. You have been told that the Minto- 
Morley reforms were doomed to failure and have failed. 
With all respect to those who hold this view, I must say 
that this is not my experience as vice-president of the 
Imperial Legislative Council, as Lieutenant-Governor of 
Burma, and as Lieutenant-Governor of the United Pro- 
vinces. In my experience, and this was the expressed 
opinion of Lord Hardinge, the Minto-Morley reforms have 
been successful. They have been a valuable training to 
Indian politicians, and have prepared them for another 
forward move. The executive government has been far 
more influenced by the discussions in Council than is popu- 
larly imagined, and the debates have been maintained at 
a really high level. Occasionally time has been wasted, 
occasionally feeling has run high. Of what assembly can- 
not this be said ? I was led to believe that in our Legis- 
lative Council I should find a spirit of opposition and 
hostility to Government. 1 have found, on the contrary, 
a responsive and reasonable spirit. Indeed, I go so far, 
gentlemen, as to say that it is the very success of the Minto- 
Morley reforms that makes me most hopeful in regard to 
the future course of reform. The third condition is that 
any scheme of reform that can hope to reach maturity 
must fit in with the general administrative system of the 
country. It is often not realised how exceedingly ancient 
and powerful that administrative system is. The British 
found it in being in India. Its roots go down to the time 
of Asoka. Remember that in the Eastern Roman Empire 
a system of scientific and bureaucratic organisation, ani- 
mated by ideas very different from ours, kept back the tide 
of invasion from Europe for many hundred years. Only 
when you disturb an administrative system can you realise 
how far its tentacles have spread. I know there are some 


who think that all evils will come to an end if only demo- 
cracy is substituted for bureaucracy. I ask them to think 
what things they mean when they use these terms. Ex- 
cept in the smallest communities such as the city states, 
democracy never has meant and never can mean direct 
government by the people or an electorate. Every modern 
democracy is dependent even hi times of peace for its suc- 
cessful working on the services of a body of trained ad- 
ministrators ; and the need for such services tends to 
become greater rather than less with the growth, extent, 
and complexity of the state's activities. In France, in 
America, and in England this truth is more and more 
realised and acted on. 

Not least important is the spirit which animates and in- 
forms discussion. No reform can be achieved without some 
rise in political temperature. That rise may be greater 
now owing to the prolonged strain of the war. Let us see 
things clearly and quietly. Let us approach the scheme of 
reform with a desire to make the best of it. I can assure 
you that this Government will assist you in all reasonable 
endeavours to secure political, industrial, and educational 
progress ; 1 have already instituted a reform which I believe 
to be far-reaching and beneficial. I refer to the reconsti- 
tution of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council. 
They now meet monthly, and the more important schemes 
of provincial expenditure are referred to them for advice, 
and great importance is attached to their advice. This 
reform may be swallowed up in larger schemes, but it is 
an important and encouraging commencement. I entreat 
you, with all my heart I do entreat, to keep up hope. You 
have a proverb " Dunya omed par qaim " The world 
rests on hope. Be sure of this that a great responsibility 
rests on anyone now who is in a position to influence 
opinion, whether on a large or small scale, to create and 
develop an atmosphere of large progressive hope. You 
will not find the officials of this province unready to meet 
you half-way. Let us work together. Faith and action 
and the future are ours. 


(a) AND (6) 




SPEAKING at the War Conference at Delhi held in April 
1918, in support of the resolution endorsing the recom- 
mendations of the sub-committees and recommending them 
to the early consideration and adoption by the Government 
of India and His Majesty's Government, His Highness the 
Maharaja of Ulwar said : 

"On an occasion so solemn and unique in the destiny of 
the Empire as the present, I rise to speak under a deep 
sense of responsibility. We have eagerly responded to the 
trumpet-call of the Empire at the present moment by 
assembling here, not because it is a bare duty, but because 
it is a privilege to assist in her hour of need the great coun- 
try who has wished India well and has guided her destinies 
for 160 years. What is real friendship ? What are the 
bonds of partnership ? With the words of the gracious 
message of the Emperor of India ringing in our ears, with 
the Prime Minister's appeal fresh in our minds, is it likely, 
I ask, that the heart of India can lie dormant at this time ? 
Is it possible to conceive that India is going to let this 
opportunity go by to prove, as she has proved in the past, 
that, according to her power and circumstances, she is true 

1 See page 152 


to herself, and so is determined to be true to the Empire of 
which she forms an integral part. 

" It was truly put once by one of Your Excellency's pre- 
decessors when talking to India ; he said, ' You cannot do 
without us. We should be impotent without you.' If 
this is so, and it is so, then let this sacred union be a conse- 
cration at the altar of divine love for the advance of both 
countries to the highest purpose ,of life. India is proud 
of her connection with the country whose love of justice 
and liberty is now being practically tested on the anvil of 
the battle-field, and every blow is adding lustre and glory 
before the world to the steel foundations on which her 
structure is built. With such a country our destinies are 
bound, and with her we rise, with her we fall. 

" Our Fatherland, like any other country in the world, 
has her domestic needs. She requires many adjustments 
of her present conditions. She aspires, and legitimately 
so, to strengthen, if possible, her position within the Empire, 
so that she may no longer go forth before the world with 
bent head. India is now eager to raise her head on an 
equality with her sister dominions, but Your Excellency 
and your Government know her wants, and you are aware 
of her urgent needs. If I like to think that for the present 
my country reposes these sacred charges hi the trust of 
the British people, it is because we have a more urgent 
duty to fulfil. Trust begets "trust, and we know if we can, 
with the mercy of Providence, succeed in doing what the 
occasion demands us to do for Old England, on whom we 
repose our confidence, she will not be slow to respond 
to our needs. The responsibility at this moment is ours, 
and when there is a silver lining to the clouds, the responsi- 
bility will be hers. For the present India is enthusiastically 
bent on sharing the glories in the common cause of the 
Empire which is being fought out on the battle-fields. 
In this vast gathering which readily assembled at Your 
Excellency's invitation, I see no British India or Native 
States before me to-day. It is one India, a united India 
with a singleness of mind and purpose. Two busy days 
have been spent by the members of this Conference in 
devising the best means for the adoption of urgent measures 
to meet the situation arising out of the crisis through 
which the Empire is passing at the present time. There 
are certain remedies which I may mention, particularly 


such as the free granting of the King's commissions to 
Indians, the raising of the pay of the Indian soldiers ; the 
establishing of institutions in India as military training 
colleges for its sons, which have to be dealt with in the 
resolutions, and which, if applied in a generous spirit of 
trust, are calculated to produce instant results in accelerat- 
ing recruiting. 

" In cordially supporting the resolutions which cover 
these and other points, I would join earnestly in commend- 
ing it for the early consideration of, and adoption by, the 
Government of India and His Majesty's Government. 

" Before concluding I will say only a few more words. 
In this hall we hold the fair name and fame of India in 
our hands. Here we come to resolve to perform what we 
ought, and hence we go to perform without fail what we 
resolve. Our countrymen have their eyes fixed on us. The 
people will ask, ' What have you given ? ' and ' What 
have you asked for ? ' The answers can be summed up 
in one word ' trust.' I may not be a British Indian, but 
I am an Indian, and as such I say that, in this supreme 
hour of the need of the Empire, for the fair name of our 
mother-country this is the opportunity to close our ranks 
and to prove to the world that we can respond to trust 
and confidence in a manner which can become the envy 
of others. Then when sunshine comes again, and the 
clouds of war disappear, we shall have reason to look back 
upon a past on which we can await the verdict of history 
with legitimate pride and confidence. In the dutiful 
message which goes in reply to the message from the Throne 
we all combine in emphasising once again our assurances 
of loyalty and attachment to the person of His Majesty, 
and we send with it our prayers for victory." 



After the flow of eloquence to which we have listened, I 
feel, Sir, that any endeavour of mine adequately to express,. 


on behalf of the great community I have the honour to 
represent, an outward and visible sign of our desires and 
hopes, of our determination and our faith, must sound at 
least weak and ineffective but none the less genuine. Few 
of us have knowledge or experience moratory and rhetoric, 
and we are not students of dialectics, but I am sincere hi 
every word that I utter. We are proud in the claim that 
we are men and women of British birth, not merely, as 
some would say, strangers in a strange land. We are as 
much part and parcel of the Empire as though we lived 
in London or any other little corner of His Majesty's 
dominions. Every man and woman, Sir, places himself or 
herself unreservedly at your disposal ; and order us, tell us 
what you require of us, what you want us to do, and there 
will, I assure you, be no faint-hearted response. Take of 
our man-power, take of our resources. We wish to range 
ourselves on equal terms with our people from the other 
parts of the Empire. 

I am not going to descend to politics, but would like to 
take this great opportunity to assure my Indian neighbours 
and fellow citizens that the future welfare of India and 
her people, when the present great adventure has been 
finished and final victory attained, will be by frank and 
honest endeavour, in co-operation with them, our first 
concern. The men of my community in increasing num- 
bers view India's necessities through different glasses, and 
are ready, when their hands are free of this sterner work, 
to take a hand in making her future. 

Your Excellency, no words are necessary to spur us to 
greater effort. The heroic examples of our men and women 
are surely enough to those of us who are left. Our dearest 
and our best have died that England should live. 
The men of the Vindictive and her escort vessels last week 
left behind for us to follow an example for all time. They 
gave all for their country. So, surely, this is no time to 
place restrictions on our duty. The road to conquest must 
mean greater trials and sacrifices, but we will endure until 
the end, fortified by a great and abiding faith in justice and 


right and in the God of our fathers to bring us to final 

In my poor way, Sir, I have given you a message from 
the people of my community and race. You will not find 
us wanting to act our part and justify ourselves as true 
citizens of His Majesty. 

Printed 6y Hatett, Watton A Viney, Ld., London and Aylttbury, Sngiand. 


Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on the list date stamped below. 


9 WC'D 

18 1950 





I V E D 


8 1964 


A 000 962 265 5 

University Research Library